Jealousy Ain't Pretty
Jealousy is something I know a lot of people struggle with. There’s been moments in my life, where even I have struggled with the spirit of envy and jealousy. It’s in these moments which God invites us to call upon the Lord and pray for a spirit of gratitude and a spirit of confidence instead.
The thing about jealousy is that it can be so subtle, you don’t even realise it. But the reality is: jealousy stems from a lack of self-confidence - it destroys your peace and robs your joy.
“A tranquil mind gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones” - Proverbs 14:30
I think often we don’t realise it, but we’re on this constant battle that we feel as if we have to tear others down in order to raise ourselves up. If only, we could reach a place whereby we’re confident in who we are, that we no longer have to tear others down to make ourselves feel better.
In a world of constant comparison, we use other people’s happiness as a criteria for our own. Jealousy comes from counting other people’s blessings, instead of counting your own.
Many of us scroll through social media thinking about how others are soo much more prettier or so much more successful than we are, that we wish that we could be like them. But if only you knew that they too had insecurities and flaws just like you. Behind the scenes of every success, lies a journey of struggle. Failure isn’t the opposite of success, it’s part of the success story but no one seems to post about their failures, only their successes.
Many of us in relationships aren’t satisfied with ourselves that when our partner interacts with the opposite sex, we automatically get triggered? That my friend, is jealousy… and it’s not pretty.
Envy is one of the seven deadly sins and manifests itself as a destructive force. For in the Book of Genesis, envy is the motivation behind Cain murdering his brother, Abel, and the root cause for Sarah’s mistreatment of Hagar.
“One day Sarah saw the son that Hagar the Egyptian had borne to Abraham, poking fun at her son Isaac. She told Abraham, “Get rid of this slave woman and her son. No child of this slave is going to share inheritance with my son Isaac!” – Genesis 21:9-10
When reading this passage of scripture, what I realised was that Sarah’s jealousy was a consequence of distancing herself from the authentic promise of God. When Sarah failed to trust that God would provide her a son, she took matters into her own hands, by telling Abraham to sleep with Hagar instead.
Yet, because Sarah failed to wait on the Promise, Hagar conceived Ishmael. But Ishmael was never the legitimate son that God had promised Abraham and Sarah, because God doesn’t use other people to fulfil His promise. The promise God has for you, doesn't require other people. Since, Sarah failed to recognise this, she only allowed jealousy to enter her heart and motivate her to treat Hagar with contempt, because she felt as if God had taken her promise and given it to someone else.
Many of us are like Sarah, that when we see the fruit of other people’s successes, we become jealous to the extent that we’re no longer happy for them. For you can only be jealous of someone, who has something you think you ought to have yourself. As an anti-spirit, jealousy causes more harm than good.
But, with every temptation there is an opportunity for grace. You don’t have to give in to the enemy. For the enemy will try to make you jealous. The spirit of jealousy will trick you into having a ‘survival of the fittest’ mentality. Instead of resisting our selfish desires, we become self-serving and resort to comparison and envy.
The thing is: someone else’s success will never subtract from the success which God has already planned for your life. In the grand scheme of things, everyone’s little individual successes will come together to glorify God. For you can’t do anything on your own accord, without God you’re nothing. So why be jealous of the work God has done through others, when you’re blind-sighted to the work God has done through you?