Have you ever had a thought that went something like this, "Wow...I wish I had that, looked like that, or had that ability or talent?" Chances are, you have... And whether you realize it or not, that thought stems from Jealousy. So your next thought may be, well since we all have thoughts like that, what's the big deal? Jealousy is a very big deal...A much bigger deal that most of us even realize, and the bible has some very specific warnings about it.
One of the verses that God used to show me how dangerous jealousy can be is found in James 3:14-16 which says, "But if you are bitterly jealous and filled with self-centered ambition, don't brag. Don't say that you are wise when it isn't true. For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every evil thing."
So what is this verse telling us?! Well, there are two important things that we are being taught...One is that when we think a jealous thought, or do something motivated by jealousy, we can't say that we have wisdom. Jealousy and selfishness shows that we are not operating in the wisdom of God. The second thing we are being warned of is that when we open the door to jealousy, we are opening the door for disorder and every evil thing to operate in our lives. So you see, these thoughts inspired by jealousy are not something to mess around with...We have a clear instruction that it is not wise to be jealous, and that it opens the door to evil in our lives.
So, how do we deal with this emotion and/or thoughts? First, as I talked about before, we have to recognize when we are having jealous or envious thoughts. We can do this by asking the Holy Spirit, (who is our helper and counselor), to show us when we are having these thoughts. When we recognize that we are having them, we must stop and realize where they are coming from, which is the devil. We must also recognize what he is trying to do with these thoughts, which is bring us to a place where we are opening the door to every evil work to come into our lives.
After we recognize that we are having these thoughts and we recognize how destructive they can be, we must make the choice to take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to the truth of God's Word. This is demonstrated in 2 Corinthians 10:5 where the Lord instructs us to, "Cast down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to make it obedient to Christ"
We must replace these thoughts that lead to destruction with thoughts of truth. The bible tells us in Philippians 4:8 what kind of thoughts we should be focused on. "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
A realistic way of thinking about whatever is pure, lovely, and worthy of praise when you are tempted with envy is to think about who you are in Christ! If you truly think about it, each person was designed with a specific purpose and destiny. Mine is different than anyone else's, so there is no sense in being jealous of what anyone else has, looks like, or can do!
If I find myself thinking envious thoughts, I stop them dead in their tracks, refusing to open the door to the enemy and every evil work. I take those thoughts captive, and make them obedient to the truth of God's word, which says that I am accepted (Ephesians 1:3-8),I am secure (Philippians 1:6), I am significant (Ephesians 2:10), and I am loved by the creator of this world (1 John 4:19).
So the next time you catch yourself having a thought that is related to jealousy, be aware of the dangers behind these thought patterns. Then make the choice to immediately to change your way of thinking! Choose to think about what God says about you, and make a choice to shut that door to the enemy and every evil work!