I went out on the deck with my morning coffee to enjoy the quiet stillness of the lake before the weekend recreation boats came out. As I looked out on the lake I saw off in the distance a man on his paddle board. Once again the thoughts began.
“His form is horrible. Does he even know what he is doing? I wonder if he even realizes he is going with the wind and he is going to have a heck of a time paddling back. In fact, I can’t wait to see him try to fight his way back.”
Woah! Put on the brakes Jen! Is this seriously how you are going to start your day? Two sips into my morning coffee and I was already having negative, critical thoughts. Where are these coming from anyway?
Jealousy. They stemmed from jealousy. The initial thought that didn’t even register at the time was “Oh man- I sure wish I had my paddleboard”. Instead of acknowledging that feeling, my mind went into overdrive with jealous thoughts.
Jealousy is dangerous. Even more dangerous than offense. It says in Psalm 27:4 Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.
Jealousy is at the root of many problems in our relationships, our self- acceptance, and our lives in general. I was quick to recognize what was happening this morning and was able to laugh at what a ridiculous baby I was being, but many times jealousy goes unnoticed. We find ourselves having a variety of responses and reactions to someone or something and do not even realize that the source of it is jealousy.
Some of the dangers of jealousy are:
It releases our critical spirit.
It causes us to gossip.
It causes us to become judgmental.
It causes strife and division.
It causes us to become bitter and ungrateful.
It robs us of our peace and steals our joy.
Think I am being dramatic? Read what is says in James 3:14-16 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
Earthly, unspiritual, and DEMONIC? Where you find jealousy, you will also find an evil spirit at work. It’s goal is to cause harm and distress. Think about it. Have you ever felt at peace and grateful while harboring jealous thoughts? Of course not. They are not compatible. Jealousy undermines all of the good in our lives.
So what do we do when we find ourselves struggling with jealousy? We pray of course, and tell God we no longer want to be jealous and ask Him to help up remove this burden. There are also some activities we can do to help overcome jealousy. Here are a few:
Get to know the person you are jealous of. You may find you really like them. I have a friend that has an amazing body. I tease her all the time saying that God brought her into my life to challenge my love walk. My love of her and of our friendship outweighs the fact that often times my first thought when I see her is “I wish I had her body.” What could’ve kept me from being her friend is now a source of laughter.
Write a list of everything you are grateful for. Putting your focus on your blessings and what you do not have will take the focus off the things you don’t. If you cannot come up with anything on your list, perhaps you are in need of a missions trip (I say that with love).
Take action. If the thing you are jealous of is something you have control over, do something about it. If you are jealous of athletic ability, start exercising. If you are jealous of someone’s cooking, take a cooking class. If you are jealous of someone’s marriage, start pouring into your own. The people that have a talent you want did not develop it overnight. They had to work at it also.
Remember who you are! You are a child of the Most High God! Nothing and no one can separate you from the love of God (Romans 8:38). What you have or do not have is not what makes you who you are. What makes you who you are is what God says about you. He says you are perfect and blameless! You are loved! You are His masterpiece! You are the apple of His eye! When you remember who you are in christ, you will find it easier to forget who you are not, or what you don’t have.
Jealousy is dangerous. If left unchecked it will rob you of your joy for today and your hope for tomorrow. Most dangerous of all is that it will derail you from the call on your life. Remember, at the root of jealousy is a demon evil, harm, and ruin. Do not let the enemy snare you with jealousy!
Dear Heavenly Father, I confess I harbor jealousy in my heart. I do not want it there any longer. I ask you to deliver me from this jealousy. Show me what I can do to rid myself of it. Heal my heart. Heal my hurts. Bring me back to the path you have for my life. Thank you for loving me even in the midst of my jealousy. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Love, Grace, and A Jealousy Free Life To You All,