Jealous Much?
Marybeth Whalen

"So be careful to do what the Lord your God has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. Walk in all the way that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess." Deuteronomy 5:32-33 (NIV)

"Do you ever get jealous?" my friend asked me. I could tell she was hesitant to ask me this. What if I said I don't struggle with jealousy, and she was left alone with her feelings spread out in front of us, vulnerable and exposed.

In that moment, I had a choice to make - be honest and vulnerable with her or gloss over the truth with some spiritual platitude. To say out loud what I wish weren't true, or purport those feelings I wish were true. In a split second, I made the decision.

"Of course!" I responded. "I struggle with jealousy more than I wish I did." I watched her breathe a sigh of relief that she was not alone. And then we spent some time talking about the things we find ourselves being jealous of, how petty we feel about it, and how we keep our focus in the right place, redirecting our thoughts to where they need to be instead of running off on a jealous tangent.

I wish I wasn't prone to those jealous feelings. Jealous that this person got a book contract by a company that turned me down. Jealous that this person got booked to speak at an event I really wanted to do. Jealous that this person gets waaay more blog comments and waaaay more hits than I ever dreamt of. Jealous at this person's true gift for writing, and that person's unique blend of humor and profundity. Jealous of houses, clothes, weight. It's so base, so silly, so human.

God has taught me much about jealousy - how to turn from it, how to guard myself against it. But unfortunately, knowing what to do and actually forcing my mind and my will to do it are sometimes two different things. Through the years, God has shown me "the rest of the story" when people I was jealous of in the past had terrible things happen to them. And I heard His whisper: "Still want her life?" Oh, how ashamed I was for wanting what was never mine to have, because I couldn't handle the burdens that accompanied that life. He knew it, why couldn't I accept it? Yes, the big green-eyed monster does rise up within me unbidden, too often for my taste. I want to slay him forever but he seems to have multiple lives, returning again and again to take up residence in a heart that isn't supposed to be his home.

Do I ever get jealous? Absolutely. Do I want to be jealous? Not at all. Each day I focus on who God created me to be (complete with gifts as well as limits) and the situation He has placed me in. I re-situate my mental blinders so that I am not tempted to look to my right or my left. I keep my focus on Him, and Him alone. When I do that, jealousy has no place in my life. The trick is to keep doing that every day, learning to be content where He has me and resting fully in that.

Dear Lord, please help me not to be jealous of others. I know I can do this when I stay focused on You and trust Your will for my life. Please help me to keep blinders on, not looking to the right or to the left at the people around me, but constantly training my eyes to look to You and Your Word. Thank You Lord for Your perfect plan for me and I am excited to see what You will bring about in the fullness of time. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson

Traveling Together: Thoughts on Women, Friendship and the Journey of Faith by Karla Worley

For the Write Reason General Editor Marybeth Whalen

Visit
Marybeth’s blog

Application Steps:

Synonyms of the word jealous are: anxious, resentful, possessive, demanding, and begrudging. Antonyms are: satisfied, confident, trusting, content, and unresentful. Ask the Lord to reveal friends or situations in your life that you feel jealous (anxious, resentful) of. Confess these to the Lord and ask Him to replace those emotions and thoughts with satisfaction, trust and contentment.

Reflections:
Am I jealous of friends or family members?

Do I trust the Lord to satisfy my needs? If not, why?

Power Verses:
I Corinthians 3:3, "You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?" (NIV)

Philippians 4:12, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." (NIV)

Proverbs 27:20, "Death and Destruction are never satisfied, and neither are the eyes of man." (NIV)

© 2009 by Marybeth Whalen. All rights reserved.

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12 Comments:

Blogger peanut said...

I just want to say that I find myself getting jealous once in a while. I think it is hard in the world we live in to not.
We need to learn to be content with the life we have, and focus on the fact that this world is not our home. That is what I have to keep reminding myself because it is very easy to not be content,and want things.
I find that if I do pursue my jealousy. and go after something just because I think I want it that it doesn't make me happy.
I want to thank you for the ministry of proverbs 31. it has been a blessing to me.

Peanut

Blogger DOakley said...

Thank you, Marybeth. It's amazing how, like Peter looking down at his feet as he stepped out of the boat, we can sink into bad habits when our focus turns from Jesus.

Particularly in these tough financial times, it's difficult not to look at someone else's fortune and wish that for ourselves.

Oh, the challenge to be content with what we have!

In Him,
Darlene

Anonymous LaRae Weaver said...

All my life I have struggled with being content!! I have been whining and complaining for way too long!! I woke up this morning at 5:51, and I was just going to go back to bed and I got back in bed. Than the Lord said if you would just get up I have something for you, I have something that I want to tell you. I said oh can't we just do this later, and He said oh you can nap later, just get up with me I want to talk to you. It wasn't audible but it almost felt like it. I got up and began to pray and seek his face. He is calling me to teach His Word to young women. All my life I have wanted to do exactly what He wants. This morning I am submitting my will to His Will. I no longer am going to waller in the pit I've been in no more. I chose to be happy and I chose to follow Christ, wherever that may be. Thank you Lord, and the only place that I can be happy is in the center of God's Will. Thank you, thank you, and Praise You Father!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this devotional today. I admit I often get jealous over my adoptive sisters. I am 25 yrs old and I am living independently on my own. I also have a disability called Cerebral Palsy.

I guess I get jealous over my sisters because they are freely still living with their parents at home, and my parents still do things with them, like taking them and their friends to the beach for the week without me. And both my sisters are in their 20's! Mind you, my family loves the Lord very much. I just wish I wouldn't let silly things like that bother me,I I need to be thankful everyday that God has blessed me with giving me the chance to have independence as a person with a disability! :)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank you for this devotion today. It seems most of us are struggling with this "jealousy" thing. I know I do each and every day. There are many things about my life that I am displeased with, but I pray each and every day that Jesus will deliver me from these feelings. I do not always understand his plan for me and I wrestle with trying to figure out what that plan is. Your words mean so much along with the words from the other comments.

Blogger Karyan said...

Thank you for the wonderful devotional! At first, I was thinking, I don't really struggle with jealousy.I do covet however. (I'm not really sure how they are much different.) And then I realized, that whatever it is called, it is a sin. It's not bringing God honor and glory, it makes Him angry and I'm not fit to be in His presence. Then I was realy convicted!
Thank you, I was not even aware of the magnitude of this sin in my life!

Blogger Karyan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was struggling with this morning. I thought if I didn't say it out loud it didn't count, but God reminded me he saw my heart and found it there.

When I feel slighted and my feelings are hurt, which is how this begins, I try and remind myself that what I do, I do for God and I should not look to others to validate me and give their approval.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate being jealous! It's really hard not to be whenever the world says that you have to earn so much money to be happy, have a nice home, have a nice car and so on... But I have realized that God's blessings are so much more than the material things of this world. I've often caught myself comparing my life to one of my friends, but in reality I only see the "good" things that go on. I really don't know what they really deal with or what they are going to have to deal with later on. I'm glad that God is full of grace and that He only gives us what we can handle.

Blogger Heidi said...

this was a good one for me. I know that I have had jealous feelings lately and I need to focus on God. Thanks so much for this.

Blogger Just Harris said...

Jealousy is at the top of my list of things that I struggle with. In that, I mean in my relationship. I don't envy people. My jealousy is all directed around Marcus [the love of my life].

Although, I do envy all of the stay-at-home moms. VERY VERY much, because that is what I want for myself [when I have children]. Thank you for this post, it has blessed me greatly.

Thank you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really feel that I am not a jealous person. I wish all family and friends the best and I tell them so. The most important thing is health, happiness and family. I do not have time to dwell in jealously. Yet, I have had people be jealous of me and this has hurt relationships with family and friends and I ask 'why be this way?"

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