Have you observed little children hide their toys from friends, or have you sulked when you came second to your friend by just two marks, “helpfully” given advice on how to pick up “better” clothes when your neighbor showed you her wardrobe? It generally starts from the time a sibling is born in a family. The elder child, in his innocence, feels his/her parents’ love is being shared with the new arrival and the spotlight is off him now. Though very harmless at this age, once left unchecked, this feeling evolves into something violent and threatening, to the extent that Cain had to kill his brother Abel to satisfy the vengeance arising out of this.
This raw emotion, one of the most neglected and ignored character defects in a Christian’s life is the sin of envy or jealousy. How often have we come across people (including ourselves) who are jealous about somebody or something and have reacted in a way that doesn’t edify or benefit the opposite person?
Let us know and accept the fact that we all have to deal with jealousy in various aspects and stages of our lives. Jealousy in itself cannot be easily identified. It exists in various forms, and at times, is expressed in the most oblivious patterns like a controlling pastor, a doubting husband, or even praises showered on you by someone who is actually jealous of you. This gives rise to various ungodly emotions and actions like low self esteem, possessiveness, discontentment, lying, gossiping, slandering, even unto the extent of murder!
Identifying jealousy is the tough part, though. Once identified, 95% of the job gets done. Whenever your response to another person’s blessings or victories is not one of encouragement that is based on genuine love, you are burning in jealousy. The greatest problem with jealousy is that it can also mask itself in socially acceptable and deceptive behaviors like giving advice, or being protective and so on. Whenever an action of yours is not based in genuine and sincere love, it falls under jealousy!!!
Here are a few things that could help you avoid, overcome and destroy the jealousy you battle with daily.
- Do not feed Jealousy: Jealousy is one of the strongest baits the enemy uses to trap believers, many of who are ministers of the gospel. One of the best ways to resolve jealousy is to stop feeding your mind with more similar thoughts. Whenever you feel jealous of a person, make a conscious decision to stop thinking of him/her. Concentrate on building up your life instead.
- Resolve to love: Just diverting your mind does not solve the problem for good. You have to resolve to genuinely love that person from your heart. Love in this case is more than an emotion; it is a conscious decision to even overlook a person’s weaknesses. If genuine love is absent, jealousy will prevail.
- Encourage and Edify: Put your love into action by encouraging the person with whatever he is good at. Let it not be praises sung from your lips while your heart is bitter against another. It should be genuine encouragement that is rooted and grounded in love. Only then will it edify the other person.
- Build a relationship: Make efforts to build a relationship with the person. This may not always be practical but try and connect with the person in the best way possible. Once you are the person’s friend you would find fewer reasons to be jealous of him/her. If you are already a friend, try to develop the relationship to maturity. A good friend will never feel bad when the other person is blessed.
- Celebrate their life: Celebrate the person, his life, his ministry, his family or whatever it is that you are jealous about. This will be the final nail in the coffin of the jealous emotions you are battling with. In all of these you need the grace of God and empowering presence of the Holy Spirit on a consistent and daily basis to be a victor.
Yet, Be Jealous
You have to flee jealousy. Yet, there is a kind of jealousy which is acceptable and which yields, and helps you in your walk with God. Such jealousy roots from a much deeper and stronger relationship with God. Over and over again, God speaks to His people saying He is jealous for them. If there is anything you should be jealous about, it should be when your walk with the Lord is not as strong as someone else’s. And may that not lead you to slander them or pull them apart, but to strive hard to go deeper and get stronger in your own walk with the Lord.
Have you ever battled jealousy and its consequent reactions? Would you like to add anything to the above points on overcoming jealousy? We love to hear from you!