Jealousy Always Backfires

Apr 14, 2024 | Sunday Devotional

James 3:16 “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work”.

The nature of jealousy Is to turn on those who harbor it; and it will ultimately destroy them. The Old Testament word for jealousy means “to burn or to inflame” – an apt description of what goes on inside the person who allows jealousy to smolder.

A legendary Burmese potter became jealous of the prosperity of a washerman. Determined to ruin him, the potter induced the king to issue an order requiring the man to wash one of his black elephants white. The washerman replied that according to the rules of his vocation he would need a vessel large enough to hold the elephant, whereupon the king commanded the jealous potter to provide one.

Though carefully fashioned, it crumbled to pieces beneath the weight of the giant beast. He made many more vessels, but each was crushed in the same way. Eventually the potter was ruined by the very scheme he had devised to defame the man he envied.

Jealousy often parades behind the facade of religious zeal. Miriam and Aaron criticized their brother Moses. But God’s anger revealed that it was actually jealousy that prompted their criticism. Out of jealousy, Saul sought to kill David, whom God had chosen to succeed Saul as king.

And when the apostle Paul was in prison, some were jealous of the way God was using him that they preached Christ in order to add to the apostle’s destress. Philippians 1:15 “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife”.

In the Summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea, causing a tragic loss of life. The news of the disaster was further darkened when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident. The blame did not belong to defective radar or thick fog but to human stubbornness.

Both captains were aware of the other ship’s presence and could have taken evasive action to avert the collision. But according to news reports, neither wanted to give way to the other. Each was too proud to yield the right-of-way.

Even greater havoc and loss can be created in human relationships for much the same reason – envy and self-seeking. We prefer to blame the world’s problems on religious and political differences, but James says that the root problem is pride and self- centeredness. It caused the archangel Lucifer to fall from the heaven. And our first parents, Adam and Eve, lost their innocence for the same reason.

The only way to keep jealousy and envy from turning into major disaster is to draw on the wisdom that comes from above, wisdom that is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, and full of mercy and goodness.

We can overcome this harmful attitude, but first we must identify it. Jealousy believes that someone else is getting what we deserve – money, popularity, anything. Second, we much confess it. Call it what it is – sin.

And third, we must give thanks. When we see someone enjoying any advantage, we must accept it with gratitude. We can keep jealousy in check by refusing to compare ourselves with others.

As We Learn To Find Our Satisfaction In God, His Grace Enables Us To Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice. When We Do That, We Have Little Room For Envy.

Pastor Paul Okonkwo
Independent Baptist Bible Church (IBBC),
New Haven,

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