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The Desire and Danger of Jealousy…

April 25, 2012

 

Jealousy at its most basic level is the desire for the glory that someone else is receiving. When we see others elevated in anyway and we desire the glory they are receiving we are displaying jealousy. All of creation was created by Christ, through Him and for Him (Col 1:15); Christ is the focal point of all creation and deserves all glory present within creation. When He is denied that glory rightly due Him, God becomes jealous. As a result, jealousy in and of itself is not necessarily bad, as long as it has as its result the desire for God’s glory. For instance, if an event occurs and no one attributes glory to God in that situation, then we might be right to be jealous (on behalf of God) that God receive the glory for the event. This might best be translated as zeal, or being zealous for God. Jealousy becomes sinful when we seek glory for ourselves. If we see others, including God, receiving glory, credit, kudos, etc. and we desire that glory we are displaying jealousy. i.e. Cain and Abel; Sarai and Hagar, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and His brothers etc.

It is important to remember, that envy is the desire for things, lust is the desire for affections, and jealousy is the desire for glory. There are times that these bleed into each other and feed off each other. But make no mistake, misdirected jealousy is sinful and represents action according to the flesh. (I Cor 3:3)

The Danger of Jealousy

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”
-James 3:16

Jealousy reorients the direction of worship in our hearts. We are meant and created to worship God (He is Jealous for our worship Ex. 34:14). But our jealousy reflects a denial of this created order as we display our true desire to receive worship and glory rather than to give it. When we are jealous, or act out of jealousy we are in essence saying, “I know that someone else, or even God deserves glory here… but I desire it.” This desire crouches at our door, seeking to devour us; if it remains unchecked then ultimately it will overcome us. When we are overcome with this unhealthy, faithless desire we will usually stop at nothing to get what we want. We will kill our brother (Cain and Abel), we will sell our birthright (Esau and Jacob), we will abandon our brother to slavery (Joseph and his brothers), we will persecute God’s anointed (Saul and David), we will steel our best friend’s wife (David and Bathsheba), we will over-throw our father’s kingdom (Absalom and David), we will even betray our Lord for 30 pieces of Silver (Judas and Christ).

Jealousy is dangerous because it reflects a lack of faith in our hearts. If we trust God, then we face every circumstance, whether we receive glory or not, with the knowledge that God is in control and that He ultimately deserves all Glory. We must be humble enough to realize that God deserves glory and we deserve judgment and death. We have no standing to be jealous of what rightly belongs to God. And if we receive glory from Him through His son, then the only right response is one of praise and adoration for such unmerited grace.

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