‘You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.’James 4:2-3
We need to be very careful of jealousy and envy, because we all feel these emotions, from time to time. If they are allowed to become dominant in our lives, they will warp our perspectives, impede our growth to spiritual maturity and keep us from realizing our personal potential.
The root of the word jealous is zelos, which is the same root for the word zealous. Proverbs 27:4 says: ‘Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?’ Jealousy corrupts our motives, thoughts and actions. To make matters worse, the object of that jealousy may be unaware of it and unable to deal with it. In Proverbs 14:30 ‘A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.’ We should zealously seek God’s guidance and help in relationships where jealousy or envy exists.
In the Old Testament book of Genesis, we have a classic example of jealousy and envy in the lives of two sisters, Leah and Rachel, both married to the same man, Jacob.
When Jacob first saw Rachel, it was love at first sight. He immediately wanted to marry her, but her father insisted that Jacob work for seven years in order to win her hand in marriage. After the seven-year period, Laban deceives Jacob by secretly marrying him to the older sister, Leah. Jacob then had to work another seven years in order to marry Rachel as well. The bible says that Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah and this must have been very painful for Leah. However, God has a way of evening things out and he ensured that Leah had the first baby. Rachel became very jealous and manipulative, even up to ensuring that Leah had no alone time with Jacob and making her pay for any alone time she desired. Finally, Rachel has a child, but nothing was enough for her and instead of thanking God for her child, her insatiable envy causes her to demand more children, in order to catch up with her sister. Years later, Rachel resorts to stealing her father’s belongings in fear that he would leave her out of the inheritance. Leah, unloved and sidelined by Jacob, manages to control her jealousy, but Rachel, adored and favoured by Jacob, allowed envy and jealousy to take control of her. Rachel’s greatest desire (to have another baby) ends up being the thing that causes her demise. What a pity she didn’t turn her jealous emotions into a zealous pursuit of setting her mind on heavenly things and thanking God for the amazing gifts (beauty, Jacob’s unconditional love, a child, to name a few) he had already given her.
‘ Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.’Quote by Harold Coffin
Instead of meditating today, let’s contemplate the following statement by Mariela Dabbah: ‘The best antidote against people who are jealous of your success is to help them achieve their own success.’
In your journal, write a list of ways in which you can help others achieve their success. You will find that when you share your possessions, praise the success of others and encourage others to reach their goals, you will find the joy that comes from giving. Envy and jealousy is rooted in selfishness and so by doing the opposite of our sinful natures we change our habit patterns and demonstrate to God that we are working with Him to renew our hearts and minds.
Breathe: Alternate nostril breathing
Sit upright in a comfortable place, stretch your spine up and push your shoulders back to open out your chest.
Rest your left hand on your lap and raise your right hand, placing the pointing and middle finger between your eyebrows. Close your eyes.
Use your right thumb to close the right nostril and breathe in (zealous pursuit of God’s ways) through your left nostril slowly. Now pinch the nose closed and hold your breath. Now close the left nostril with your ring finger and exhale (jealousy and envy) from the right nostril slowly. Wait for a moment before you repeat this on the other side. The cycle should take 40 seconds.
Now repeat this cycle 10 times.
Pray: Dear Lord, Help me to remember that I do not have to be a slave to sin, but that through your death on the cross, my chains have been broken and I am free to live a life guided by your Holy Spirit. Help me not to allow envy and jealousy to hold me back from reaching my personal potential and remind me always to be grateful for the many blessings you pour down on me. Fill me with your love so that I am not always wanting my own selfish desires met, but that I will see others needs as more important than my own. Amen.
Are there some destructive emotions doing a number on you? In case you aren’t aware of the symptoms of jealousy and envy, give yourself this test taken from material developed by Les Carter.
Breaking the Chains of Jealousy or Envy Test (Place a tick in the box if that chain has been broken)
|1. You’ve stopped working extremely hard to come out looking good?|
|2. You don’t examine others with a critical eye?|
|3. You don’t have hidden feelings of inferiority?|
|4. You don’t have an insatiable desire for success?|
|5. You don’t need a lot of recognition for your achievements?|
|6. You don’t tend to be status conscious?|
|7. You don’t find it hard to pay compliments to others?|
|8. You don’t keep score of your own good deeds and those of others?|
|9. You are not willing to pass along negative rumours about a successful person?|
|10. You don’t put on a false front in order to appear impressive?|
|11. You don’t base your self-image on your performance?|
Please read the Lyrics from Envy by 116 Clique (Man up) – Inspiring!!! https://g.co/kgs/SLiXAn