A Jealous Heart
Is there anything uglier than a jealous heart? A jealous heart cannot recognize blessings in their life for they are convinced God has cheated them from what was rightly due them. They cannot rejoice in the good fortunes of others or celebrate another’s victory. Always feeling slighted and offended, they are convinced life is unfair towards them.
I cringe when I see this attitude in my children for I know just how easily jealousy ensnares and takes hold. I only need to look in the mirror to see the reflection of someone who struggles with this sin. And left unchecked, jealousy emits a repulsive odor. Proverbs 14:30 tells us “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
Jealousy occurs when we love ourselves more than our neighbor. Though we loathe to admit it, we do not believe all men are equal – we know this because our actions confirm it. When we see someone receiving a promotion, a reward, an amazing opportunity, our first reaction is often one of envy. If we were to examine our hearts, we might find the ugly truth that we believed we were more worthy – the blessing should have been ours! Our jealousy stems from the notion that we have been cheated while someone less worthy received our due.
Jealousy also occurs when we believe that God is a sparing and stingy God. We erroneously believe there are a limited number of blessings to go around and worry that there will not be any blessings left for ourselves once God has blessed others. This is contrary to Scripture and a part of Satan’s plan – to make us doubt the generous, lavish, and abundant love of God. Philippians 4:19 tells us “My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
1 Peter 2:1 calls us to “rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.” In the KJV translations, we read that we are to “lay aside” these sins and in Greek the word means to ‘put off or away’. In other words, we are to ‘put off’ jealousy and envy in the same way that we are called to put off works of darkness (Romans 13:12), the old self (Ephesians 4:22), filthy communication (Colossians 3:8), and every weight that hinders (Hebrews 12:1)
Like choosing to put on or take off a coat, we are called to put off jealousy. We can not simply wish for jealousy or sin to leave us; we must actively set it aside. We must choose to disengage and withdraw from the temptation. Jealousy is a game that Satan invites us to play that divides the unity within a relationship. When he throws the ball, we can choose to catch it and engage, or we can choose to set it aside and walk away.
Though it’s hard to believe it, this is good news! For it means that we are not attached to our sins; they are not engraved in our hearts and flesh. When we confess our sins and receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are new creatures and these sins are no longer a part of our identity. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we can choose to separate ourselves from these harmful actions and walk in righteousness. Our sins can only stick to us if we let them.
Choosing to set aside jealousy becomes easier when we gratefully recognize the gifts that God has given us. He may choose to bless us differently than we expected, but how He chooses to bless us is His prerogative. When we open our eyes to see the goodness of the Lord around us, we don’t have time or energy to engage in jealousy. Gratitude and jealousy cannot reside in the same heart – there isn’t room for both. It must be one or the other.
Heavenly Father, help us to see all the ways You have been good and generous to us. May we guard our hearts against the jealousy that so easily invades and trust that in your goodness, You will provide all that we need. Amen.
Thoughts to Ponder
In what way has jealousy ruined your relationship with others?
Are there areas in your life where you feel cheated?
How could an ‘attitude of gratitude’ change your current situation?