1. feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.
2. feeling or showing suspicion of someone's unfaithfulness in a relationship.
3. fiercely protective or vigilant of one's rights or possessions.
4. (God’s jealousy) demanding faithfulness and exclusive worship
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.
Being jealous involves wanting something that’s not ours. It’s true that we all might know this definition, but what we usually miss is the fact that jealousy is something that mostly goes on in the privacy of our heart and usually by the time it manifests in behavior we’ve lost ourselves in it. Jealousy brews for a long time and makes us think that we are victims to the point that we don’t realize that we have allowed ourselves to get to this place.
So you’re probably thinking: “What’s the step-by-step plan I need to take to stop this evil?”
The fact of the matter is that we were born in a sinful condition. By nature, our hearts are evil and we want things that do not belong to us. No person has ever gone to lying school, stealing school, or murder school, but somehow we know how to do these things even if we don’t actively engage in them. “I would never do that!” you say? Don’t be fooled – without any form of restraint, we all have the capacity to carry out the most terrible evil – probably to levels that would even shock us.
Here’s an example: Let’s pretend that humans are fruit trees. Some are mango trees and the others are apple trees. A mango tree needs as much sunshine and rain to thrive and be fruitful as the apple tree. But if the mango tree becomes discontented with rain and sun and decides it wants snow in order to grow, guess what? That tree will wither and die. On the other hand, an apple tree will not wither under winter conditions.
Now let’s go back to being humans. If someone sets out to better themselves and works really hard, takes advantage of the opportunities available to them, and embraces challenges without giving up, they will start to see the benefits of their hard work. However, those who don’t take responsibility of the same opportunities will somehow start to feel that they are disadvantaged and start to lose hope. They will then begin to want what others have without doing anything.
Many times we don’t realize that taking responsibility comes with disappointments, discouragement, failure, pain and other frustrations. Even so, someone responsible is willing to face all of these frustrations because they are willing to fight for what is rightfully theirs.
This is the evil nature of jealousy. It is the failure to face our weaknesses so that we can depend on God. It causes us to believe lies that we are less advantaged and that’s just not true. God has given us all opportunities and just like the mango thrives in rain and sunny conditions, it does not have the snow or winter to thrive.
When we fail to see the opportunities availed to us, we become irresponsible with what we’ve been given and start to believe that the grass is greener on the other side. In the end, our heart looks elsewhere to things that belong to others.
This is what makes jealousy evil – you begin to believe the lie that God has short-changed you and then you want something that is not yours. Why? Because you are not responsible for what God has already given you; you don’t want to do the hard work.
When this happens, your heart is driven by Satan and his evil ways and you become selfishly ambitious. This means that you pursue things just for your own selfish benefits because you’re now in competition with others.
Another example can be seen in marriage. When a married person cheats on their spouse, they fail to acknowledge that they have their own spouse. They experience challenges in the relationship, but fail to work through these challenges, neglect their responsibility and engage with someone who does not belong to them. The evil nature of this is that the cheating spouse didn’t just cheat when they got drunk. It was actually their heart not to honor their spouse and in a split moment they agreed with Satan to meet a momentary need.
Only YOU will do the work to obtain what belongs to you.
Failure to do so will lead you into jealousy.
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
So it’s important to recognize that jealousy is evil and it resides in all of our hearts. If you are struggling with jealousy, it means that you have neglected the reality of experiencing pain, disappointment, fear, discouragement and other negative emotions in order to get what belongs to you.
Action steps to avoid jealousy:
Take some time to read Numbers 5:12-31, which talks about the law of jealousy.
Psalms 119:11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Keep the word of God in your heart so that you take responsibility for your life and purpose. Not knowing the truth, puts you in a vulnerable position and causes your sinful nature to be unrestrained
Just like an athlete trains for a marathon over a year to run in one race – they suffer injuries, setbacks, and health problems, but they don’t quit. On the day of the race, the audience admires their performance, but doesn’t know the amount of work it took to run that race. In the same way, embrace your own journey of pain, endurance, suffering, and waiting, because at the end you will be more fulfilled that you did not cut corners to get to your destination.