by Dr. Ken Matto
I wish to discuss the hate causing sin of jealousy. I call it Jezebel because jealousy can cause a person to turn on their best friends and cause them all sorts of problems as Queen Jezebel did for King Ahab. At this juncture I would like to include a portion of a sermon which was delivered at Zarephath Community Chapel on August 23, 1992 by Senior Pastor Steve Nash:
"Jealousy, resenting the fact that others have something, do something, or are something, that you wish you had, could do, or were.
(James 3:14,16 KJV) But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. {16} For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
If jealousy is not repented of, dear friend, and if you’re suffering from that sin, and you don’t deal with it, you don’t let God deal with it in your heart, then jealousy is going to turn to hate. That hate will wind up consuming your entire life, it will control you.
I know of a person, I went to school with him, he came into my office one time, I knew something was bothering him and had been for many months, maybe even years. He got red in the face, and he pointed at me and he said, ‘You think I’m angry, I have a right to be angry, look at you,’ he said pointing at me, he goes, ‘you have a family, you have a wife, you have children." He said, ‘you’re a pastor, you completed your education,’ and then he said, ‘I’m not even married I surely don’t have any children, and look I’m unemployed.’ He said that with a hatred towards me.
And so jealousy can control you if you don’t let God deal with it. Do you harbor jealousy towards anyone at work? In your community? In the church or even in your own family? I’ve discovered people that claim the name of Christ and have jealousy toward members of their family. So how do you put jealousy to death? First of all, you need to start thanking God for what you have, who you are, and what you can do, because if you don’t you are not going to be anything, you are not going to accomplish anything for God, your mind is on other people too much. Start thanking God for other people, in fact it again it wouldn’t hurt you to go up to someone that you tend to have jealousy towards and say I thank God, and mean it in your heart, for your gift, for your ability, for your position, and I’m going to pray for you and encourage you in any way I can.
I’m not telling you be a hypocrite but after much prayer and after God has dealt with you, then you can do that with a pure and clear conscience. So don’t let jealousy control you, it will rob you."
I think Pastor Nash has laid down some pertinent principles in reference to jealousy. It is like a cancer that eats at us and eventually ruins us. I am going to give you space to list 5 people which you tend to be jealous of and make them part of your prayer life. It is hard to hate or be jealous when you are praying for them.
Do you realize that if any of the people you are praying for has a strong ministry, you will become a part of that ministry and not an enemy of it! Think about it!
If we are to put to death this vile sin, then we must know some signs of its existence in our lives. Knowing we possess a certain negative trait is half the battle won toward eliminating it. Here are some questions and statements to deal with if you believe you have envy toward anyone. Let’s Call the folks we envy Mr. J & Mrs. E (Jealousy and Envy)
I must be a hypocrite when Mr. J is present!
On the outside I am as sweet as Pecan Pie but on the inside I am like Mt. St. Helens. I am acting like I really like him when I am, in reality, jealous of him in every area. I am to the point of being repulsed by him.
I am preoccupied with the things of Mrs. E!
I know the Bible tells us to look upon the things of others in Philippians 2:4 but that does not mean we dwell on their goods to covet them. When we find ourselves consistently thinking about the things of others, it is a sure sign of jealousy.
I question why God has given Mr. J so much and I have so little!
When you begin to make inquiry why one person has so much more than you, it is another sure sign that you are jealous of them. This also applies to covetousness in the mind. One need not reveal how jealous they are verbally, because sins of the mind are equal as sins of deed with God. You can detect envy in a statement like, "If I had his money, I would surely give much more to the church." You see how we can cloak sin in piety.
You borrow to buy something you can’t afford!
Now I am not speaking of a necessity such as a car or home but I am speaking of the items of luxury you see in Mrs. E’s home and you try to surpass her by buying a better set than hers. She may have a 50 watt stereo system and you have only a 25 watt system which works well enough but because you saw hers, you must top it to keep up with her. We previously referred to it as keeping up with the Joneses. There is only jealousy at the heart of that philosophy. Let me back track a minute, if you look for a car and a Chevy will do but you purchase a BMW, you are elevating yourself through hidden jealousy. The same is true of a house. If you can do with a 3 bedroom but buy a 5 bedroom, you do so through hidden jealousy. Weigh your motives on purchases. You become cynical about Mr. J! If you envy Mr. J, you may find yourself becoming very cynical about him in your normal conversation. It is impossible to hold in feelings gone awry or better yet, sinful, they always have a way of escaping. You will also have a change of demeanor whenever Mr. J’s name is mentioned or when he is in your presence.
You pre-judge the motives of Mrs. E!
When Mrs. E does something nice we tend to judge her motives through our envious eyes. Whenever we view another person through our envy, we are secretly or openly assassinating their character. Even if Mrs. E does do things for the wrong reason, she is accountable to the Lord and not us.
We Blame God for Blessing Mr. J!
When we envy Mr. J, we will keep asking the question over and over again, why does God keep blessing him the way He does? My friend, that is God’s business! If you believe God has made a mistake, then tell Him that you should be receiving those blessings, but do not be surprised if God blesses Mr. J more in response to your request. You see, God does not answer sinful requests.
We find ourselves gossiping about Mrs. E!
The more we find ourselves dwelling on the things of others, the more we tend to gossip about them. Since gossip is normally rooted in created scenario, our minds will invent situations and scenarios which we will believe about Mrs. E and we will actually believe them, and pass them on. By the time the gossip is all over the church, Mrs. E’s reputation is ruined and so is the reputation of the one who started the rumor. Whenever you have a desire to say something about someone, check your motive, and then check your tongue, and then check in with Heaven for forgiveness for allowing Satan to motivate you this far in your "vendetta" against someone who may have never hurt you in your life.
We may have a hidden desire to see adversity come into the life of Mr. J!
Have you ever said or heard said, "I wonder how they would act if they were going through what I am experiencing?" This statement tends to have a little jealousy behind it as we believe Mr. J has been living a good life without any problems. We never know what others experience out of our sight.
I believe these guidelines are sufficient to open our eyes to this sin. If you had any of these situations in your life then maybe God is raising your attention so you may purge that sin and begin to reclaim your mind for Christ. Now I wish to help you deal with envy, to see you free in your Christian walk. Envy is a great hindrance to Christian growth. Do you realize that you will progress no further in your spiritual life than the sin that is besetting you? You may gain knowledge but knowledge is not spiritual growth! Once the besetting sin is removed, you will grow again.
Once we discover a root of jealousy in our life, we may proceed to deal with it so we may reclaim our spiritual walk without any of the weight that besets us as Hebrews 12:1 states.
The Bible teaches in Proverbs 28:13:
(Prov 28:13 KJV) He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
If we know we have the even the slightest taint of jealousy in our life and we try to hide it from God, we will go deeper into the sin and eventually it will destroy us. Think about it, God knows anyway so why try to hide it. Proverbs 29:1 states, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." It is a stern warning that if we are reproved several times for our sins and continue to remain steadfast in them, it could mean our physical destruction. It is better to confess and free ourselves up because if you are jealous of someone, they literally become your master, since you are consistently focused on them.
If your jealousy is in your mind, then deal with it without making the person aware of your jealousy. At a future time you may wish to tell that person but wait until it is all out of your system. If you tell them, they may be shocked that someone is jealous of them, and a new friendship may start.
Paul lays these principles out for us in Philippians 4:11-13 and they should be dissected and digested. Here are three that should suffice in getting you on the road back.
(Phil 4:11-13 KJV) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. {12} I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. {13} I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
A. Be Satisfied With What You Have
You do not need anymore than God has supplied for you at this moment in time. Where we get into trouble is we think we need something when in essence we want something. To think we need more than God supplies is to indict God that He is unable to supply our needs. To further strengthen that indictment, Satan gives us credit cards to fulfill our desires while withholding the fact that credit cards can ruin us financially. The proper use of credit cards are not sin, the abuse of them are.
B. God Allows You To Be Strong In One Area But Lacking In Another.
God will allow us to want in some areas for the purpose of keeping us faithful to Him. If He gave us everything we wanted, how many of us would live to be 70. (He who has ears to hear.) God wants us to fellowship with Him and come to Him with both praise and needs. The Lord Jesus Christ stressed prayer as a vital part of the disciple’s prayer. If all things were supplied, how much would you pray and how faithful to God would you be with many things. What about Moses in the wilderness, all things they needed were supplied, but at the time of need, it was their greed and desires that got them into trouble. Read Psalm 106:13-18!
C. Contentment Is Learning To Trust God In Your Present Situation!
Contentment is learning to trust God completely. It is easy to thank God when He has abundantly blessed us but to thank God for areas of need is another story. When Joseph was placed in prison, he learned to trust God through his ordeal and the outcome was promotion to Governor of Egypt. God was preparing him for a certain task. When we are in a need situation, God is also preparing us for something and to realize that God is engineering our circumstances for a certain outcome will bring great contentment to us if we continue to bask in His loving care.
Look at the people in the Scriptures who trusted God in their present circumstances:
Peter in prison - Acts 12
Paul in prison - Acts 16
Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20
Abraham in Genesis 22
You back when________________________
If we would look around us we will count many more blessings than we realize we have.
As with loneliness, the principles to help you escape the trap of jealousy are not earth shaking but are grass roots biblical principles. To help ourselves out of the pit of sin does not require a 500 page book written by a school full of psychobabblers rather it just takes an earnest study of the Scriptures and a true desire to be free from sin which will stultify your Christian walk. Jealousy is a sin which must be rebuffed, as Pastor Nash stated, "that jealousy is going to turn to hate." Last one out turn off the lights. - 11/9/1996