JEALOUSY AND ENVY

Scripture Reading: I Samuel 18:17-30

“But when Saul saw and knew that the Lord was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, Saul was even more afraid of David. So Saul was David’s enemy continually.” (I Samuel 18:28,29)

According to the Bible jealousy and envy are works of the flesh — “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:20,21). These are strong words! I don’t often put jealousy and envy in the same category with sorcery, idolatry, and sexual immorality, but God does.

Saul’s relationship with David was destroyed because of jealousy and envy. Saul was jealous of David’s relationship with the Lord and with his daughter Michal. He was envious of the many successes David had. Saul’s jealousy led to fear and bitterness. He became paranoid of David and he wanted to kill him. It is amazing what jealousy and envy can do to a person. It creates deep seated bitterness that causes people to do irrational things. Look at what Saul did — he attempted to kill David on several occasions.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed the disastrous results of people who are filled with jealousy and envy. I have seen friendships broken, families divided, and people who have become bitter and angry. Jealousy and envy are serious offenses against God. Paul wrote these words to the Corinthians — “For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” (I Corinthians 3:3). Jealousy and envy are part of our fleshly nature. Let’s not make excuses when we experience them.

The key to dealing with jealousy and envy is found in our relationship with the Spirit of God — “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do” (Galatians 5:16,17). The remedy for jealousy and envy is to walk by the Spirit. When we do, the Spirit will give us the desire and power to put away the works of the flesh and instead to put on love, forgiveness, and grace!

O Spirit of God, grant me grace to put off the jealousy and envy that comes when I am not in step with You. Forgive me when I fail to be gracious and loving with others and become jealous and envious of them. I know that these are works of the flesh and are not from You. Fill me fresh that I may walk by You and not by my selfish desires. I cannot do this without You, but with Your power I can be filled with love, kindness, patience, and self-control.

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