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Last night I came across one of those verses while studying the book of James. "For where there is jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing." (James 3:16) So jealousy and selfishness can lead to disorder and evil??
Really??? Doesn't that seem extreme? I mean just because I am upset and annoyed with so and so because they are more talented than me at X doesn't mean I'm flirting with evil, right? "But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished , it brings forth death." (James 1:15)
Consider these Biblical examples of how the green eyed monster of jealousy can seep into the heart, turning rational thought into a disorderly mess.
The first example of jealousy's destructive nature is that of Joseph's brothers. Joseph's father loved him more than his 10 brothers, so much so that they all knew it. His brothers actually hated him so much that they threw him into a pit and eventually sold him into slavery. Because of their jealousy and selfish ambition, their own father's spirit was crushed, throwing their family into a bit of chaos. (Genesis 37). They weren't born hating Joseph. This was a feeling that was created and then grew and festered until it became like a cancer in their hearts.
Another example is that of King Saul and David. King Saul had fallen out of favor with God because of his sin against Him. David had replaced him as the chosen one to lead the people, and God brought him success in all that he did (I Sam 18:10). King Saul was tormented by his jealousy of David and it burned against David so much that Saul wanted to kill him. Saul's own son was put in the middle of it because he and David loved each other like brothers. Saul's life became the epitome of disorder and chaos because of his jealousy.
What ways has the green eyed monster tried to cause havoc in your life? Is it jealousy over someone else's possessions, career, family life, or perhaps their talents and abilities? Have you allowed this to affect your relationships, your own feelings of self worth or your personal relationship with God?
James 1:20 says, "for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God." If our hearts are consumed with ungodly feelings, we cannot be effective as Christians.
So how can we fight off these impure thoughts? I would suggest prayer and lots of it! "The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (James 5:16) Pray for a pure heart, spiritual wisdom, and the ability to find peace and contentment in with what you have. Pray before jealousy strikes that you will not fall into that temptation. The book of Psalms is full of prayers for strength and courage. If the green eyed monster has already entered your heart, pray for it to release its hold and pray for the object of your jealousy. Pray with faith and God will answer.
Next week I plan on talking more about jealousy over spiritual gifts and why we may not have the gifts that we desire. :) If you haven't studied the book of James, I encourage you to do so. It is full of practical advice for your daily Christian walk.
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