Exodus 20:17 (KJV): “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
Jealousy has always been a difficult topic for me. I couldn’t seem to understand why anyone could or would want to be jealous. I didn’t think materialistic things were ever a good enough reason. Ecclesiastes 4:4 (KJV): “Again, I considered all travail, and every right work, that for this a man is envied of his neighbour. This is also vanity and vexation of spirit.” I wasn’t even too sure about characteristics being a reason either because I always thought everyone was special in their own way. As I would read verses and commandments about not being jealous or crippled with covetousness I would scan my mind thinking, “Whew, I am glad that I am not controlled by jealousy. Jealousy has to be a terrible thing. I don’t want anything like that eating me up.”
Galatians 5:19-21 (KJV): “19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
My rejoicing of not experiencing jealousy was short-lived because He revealed to me that I was. I remember it like yesterday. I sat on my bed in awe at the thought that I indeed was plagued by jealousy. But what made me jealous? Something that I thought shouldn’t even be qualified on the “to be jealous of” list. I was jealous of love. Well not love specifically, but of those who not only were offered love but simply of those who could receive it. Fighting with a spirit of rejection and losing the battle more times than I can count, I found myself jealous and crippled by the thought of someone having something that I thought was vital and deserving to every human walking on this Earth. Ouch. Not only was I jealous but I was jealous of something that didn’t seem to be optional, but something that truly made the world go ’round. I can go “buy” anything but I can’t buy love. What was I to do? Well since I was saved I knew to take that to the Lord but then what? I found myself upset when jealousy got hold of me and began to pick at the sores sealing wounds on my heart. Ouch again. My prayer was that I would no longer be jealous, simply because I am loved by Him unconditionally, before anyone and anything else. Has my revelation ended the jealousy? Not yet but it is a growing process. My heart was so calloused that I didn’t even realize that I was jealous. Then I became aware of my issue and felt pitiful for being jealous of something as simple as love. Then I found myself angry at myself and angry that I could not shake jealousy. I was right, jealousy is a terrible thing. Then I found myself during my moments of jealousy sending verbally silent prayers up to God asking Him to fulfill whatever made me jealous. I am not lying, I have experienced moments where jealousy was given the boot as our Father’s love rushed into my mind, body, and spirit. Yep, He is really that awesome.
James 3:14 (KJV): “But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.”
Jealousy is messy and God knows that, which is why we are specifically instructed to not be consumed by envy.1 Corinthians 3:3 (KJV): “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” Jealousy doesn’t help individuals get far. If anything, it keeps an individual bound by selfishness and greed. James 3:16 (KJV): “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) so there is no question about the wickedness of jealousy. James 3:14-15 (KJV):“14But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.15This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.” God takes covetousness and envy so seriously that He even filters such bugs in our prayer life, purging selfish motives in our supplications. James 4:2-3 (KJV): “2Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.3Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” The consequences of jealousy are death (like any other sin), as it cuts so deep that it can cut through flesh. Proverbs 14:30 (KJV): “A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.” I think at one point I even thought, “Can jealousy really bring forth death? I mean everyone gets jealous about something and at some point, right? “Song of Solomon 8:6 (KJV): “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.” While we all may have that one thing that makes us jealous, God outlines the importance of us not being devoured by jealousy as an umbrella covering many sins. If someone is willing to lie they are willing to steal and if someone is willing to steal then best believe that they are willing to kill. It begins with envy but it doesn’t stop there.
The first time I read this part of the story about the Prodigal Son the only thing I could think of was, “This guy’s brother was lost then decided to come home and live life differently and the only thing he could focus on was that he wanted a party as well? How could he allow jealousy to steal joy for his bother’s breakthrough?” I guess it is similar to my experience with jealousy. How could I be jealous watching someone else receive love and affection, even if it was the very thing I wanted more than anything in this world? Why couldn’t I just be happy that someone else didn’t feel as empty as me? I can only guess that the answer is flesh but the better answer is when I asked Him to be my Comforter. The only one qualified to be jealous is God. Deuteronomy 4:24 (KJV):“For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” The jealousy of God should even reinforce our reverence for Him, helping us avoid His wrath. Zechariah 8:2 (KJV): “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury.”
But wait. There is something else interesting that the Lord revealed to me. There is something beneficial to jealousy. If presented and enforced by God, it can produce His fruit. God has used jealousy to bring sinners out of their wickedness as they began to want the light living inside of His redeemed. The first example of this is when God offers salvation to the Gentiles so that Israel may turn away from their wicked ways. Deuteronomy 32:21 (KJV): “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” I often associate jealousy with negativity (as we usually should) but I was amazed to know that jealousy could produce positivity. Romans 10:19 (KJV): “But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you.” We ought to pray for Israel and that they come back to their first Love and reject all false doctrine. I am truly grateful that I have been offered salvation and that I am now in position to pray for Israel’s submission to the Father. John 1:11-12 (KJV): “11He came unto his own, and his own received him not.12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” In addition to Israel, anyone who isn’t a believer should be jealous of those who have the Holy Spirit dwelling within. It is troubling to think that Christians can have the Way, the Truth, and the Life without catching the attention of someone living in darkness. As God’s chosen people we have the Key, the answer, the perfect gift. We should question if sinners cannot see the fruit of God in the lives of Christians, let alone be jealous of it. This should be a reminder that we as Christians should allow Godly jealousy to prick the hearts of sinners, potentially leading them not to us but to Him who dwells within. Let your light shine from the tops of hills, not hiding the flicker under a bushel.
Romans 11:11 (KJV): ” I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.