I’m usually not a jealous person. At least I wouldn’t add that to my list of trait characteristics. But recently I had a repeat situation that reminded me of some things I need to take care of. Every Christian will face it at some point – the temptation to look outside of your lane.
There will always be someone who is prettier/smarter/more skilled than you. Sometimes it’s just a matter of opinion (e.g “prettier). Sometimes it’s a matter of fact (e.g. “more skilled”).
If you spend your entire life looking in the other lane, you’ll never appreciate all that God has in store for you. I think that’s why this verse is written the way it is:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. – Philippians 4:6
Giving thanks involves remembering.
A memory is a powerful tool.
Remembering what God has done for you or others in your life or in the Bible can help shift your thought processes, making them less negative and more positive.
I lift up my eyes to the mountains – where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 121:1-2
Focusing on God is uplifting.
What does this have to do with jealousy and envy? someone is asking.
First this to clear up things, a few things I learned from Merriam Webster:
“Though ‘jealous’ and ‘envious’ may both mean “covetous,” only ‘jealous’ may be used to mean “possessively suspicious.””
Jealousy comes with the threat of losing something while envy is wanting what someone else has.
The biblical books of James and Ecclesiastes give us insight:
You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
To stay in your lane, take your focus off the temporal. Don’t look to the left or right, only look to Jesus. He is the One Who tells us who we are. When you know who you are and how valuable you are to God, you won’t need to compare yourselves to others. When you compare, you will always fall short.
There are various times in a Christian’s life where he or she has to ask God to help with his or her vision:
- When you’re proud – God help me to see myself for who I truly am so that I can please you. (1 Peter).
- When you’re feeling lonely – God open my eyes to see that you are all around me. (1 Kings).
- When you’re feeling threatened that someone might take what you have or you want what someone else has – God help me to see that you have plans for me – plans to give me hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).
Here are a few power verses to lift your thoughts:
The Key to Anti-Jealousy: Stand firm in knowing who you are because God, who made you, said so. Stand firm knowing that God has good plans for your future.
- Psalm 143:8-9 Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Rescue me from my enemies, LORD, for I hide myself in you.
- 1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
- Galatians 5:14-15 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
- Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
The Key to Anti-Envy: Keep your eyes in your lane. Recognize that God’s grace and love are able to take care of you as well as everyone else in the world. His supply of love, grace and resources is unlimited.
- Proverbs 14:30 A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.
- Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…
- James 3:16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
- Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.