My blogging journey has been anything but easy. I love to write and love all I’m learning, but my older years haven’t made it easy for me to learn new tricks and so gaining followers has been an uphill climb. Recently, as I perused my social media feeds, my eyes locked onto an Instagram post from a fellow blogger who was sharing a recent blessing from a follower. She’s young and talented and frankly God wanted her to know she had encouraged someone along their journey. Instantly I found myself struggling with jealousy because of God’s blessing and encouragement. Fortunately, God’s blessing of conviction followed on the heals of my temptation. “Robin, you should be glad for her. You know how hard it can sometimes be to write!”
Had not God’s Spirit invaded my thoughts in that moment, jealousy could have poisoned my heart and mind. These days, it would be easy to blame social media for my emotions, but I can’t. Jealousy has been around since the fall – remember Cain and Abel?
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field. While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
What should Cain have avoided, and what should we avoid to quell jealousy?
- In pride, Cain elevated his own way over God’s, producing anger at not getting what he felt entitled to receive.
- Cain rejected God’s admonition to control his hurt pride and anger, and instead fed his sense of entitlement.
- Cain gave full vent to his anger, adding to it deceit and murder.
- Instead of confessing his sin when confronted, he brushed it off, hardening his heart further.
My thoughts that day weren’t any where near murderous, and most of us will never go that far. But left unchecked, jealousy can bear such fruit as bitterness, anger, and hatred. Scripture gives us strong warnings about allowing such emotions to take control:
Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 (NLT)
“You have heard that our ancestors were told, ‘You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment [a necessity to stand before God’s court]! Matthew 5:22 (NLT)
Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them. 1 John 3:15 (NLT)
What are our alternatives?
- Remember God has a unique plan for us that won’t look like anyone else’s plan. When God’s plan for the moment seems as though he’s comparing us to someone else, remember He’s not.
- When God advises us to make a different choice, listen – He’s only warning us for our good. God sees the outcome as well as our current circumstances. Listen well.
- We are called to take control of our emotions rather than allowing our emotions to control us.
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
2 Corinthians 10:5
Above all, God longs for us to experience the full measure of gifts found in relationship with both him and our fellow man. Jealousy destroys relationship. Get rid of it quickly!
Lord, thank you for dealing with my thoughts quickly. Thank you for strengthening me to listen and yield to your tender admonitions rather than giving into jealousy. Help us to see the dangers of allowing jealousy full sway, and choose your way instead. In Jesus’ name, amen.
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