1 Samuel 18:8
Have you ever noticed that there are certain sins people just don't like to admit are problems for them? Jealousy seems to me to be one of those sins. People will readily admit to having struggles with worry, lust, fear, unbelief, pride, or selfishness. but not with jealousy and envy. As one envious man defensively told me in a meeting one day, "Well, I KNOW that I am not jealous!" Oh really? To quote William Shakespeare, "Me thinks thou dost protest too much."
SAUL AND DAVID
Saul was green with envy over David. He hated the women's song, "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands." Big question: Do you think Saul would have admitted he was jealous of David? NEVER! Why is that?
Admitting jealousy reveals a great insecurity and a very rotten heart. and no one really wants to admit to having that kind of heart. Our pride kicks in at the thought of being jealous and we say, "Who me?!! No way!" The truth is that many of us struggle with jealousy. and pastors can be the worst offenders.
THE JEALOUSY TEST
1. Is there someone in your life (a friend, a sibling, a co-worker, a classmate, a teammate, or a "competitor") whom you always seem to compare yourself to, resulting in pride (YES, I am doing better than you are) or depression (CRUD, you are doing better than I am)?
2. Is there someone in your life who always seems to get the breaks. and it just makes you sick because you never seem to get them?
3. Is there someone in your life whom you secretly desire to see fail and fall flat on his face?
4. Is there someone in your life whom you have anger towards because people are singing louder and longer for him than they are for you?
5. Is there someone you have great trouble rejoicing with when something good happens for him?
Could it be that you, like Saul, are (dare I say it?) jealous?
OVERCOMING THE GREEN MONSTER
By nature, I am a very competitive person. In everything I do, I want to win. If the women of Israel are going to sing a song about slaying the Philistines, I want to be the one slaying ten thousand, not one thousand. I want to be David, not Saul. How about you?
My competitiveness can easily lead to jealousy if I am not careful. When I catch myself failing the jealousy test, I must quickly do the following to rid my heart of that poison:
1. QUIT COMPARING! I am not to be concerned with being THE BEST. I am to make sure I always do MY BEST. Do you see the difference between these two things?
In Matthew 25, Jesus told a great parable of the talents. The King was going on a long journey and entrusted his talents (a large sum of money) to his three servants. One man got five, another got two, and another got one. Obviously, the guy who started with one could NEVER outdo the guy who started with five. He could not be the best and the biggest producer in that parable. But he was not in competition with the other two guys. The Lord was concerned about the one talent guy doing his best, not being the best.
At the end of life, the big questions from the Lord will be simply this: What did you do with what I gave you? Did you do your best and step out in faith? Did you use that one talent to the full, to the glory of your God. or did you bury it in the ground, grumbling the whole time that you never get a break, that others always get more than you do, and that God is just not fair?
My friend, quit comparing and start using what you have been given. Do your best and leave the results with God.
2. START REALIZING! Your job on this earth is to please God, not to be the undisputed champion in every field of competition. When you focus on pleasing God, you keep your eyes where they should be: on God and off other people. And when you really focus on pleasing God, you do your best and forget about being the best.
KING SAUL, KING BUST
Saul's life was a tragedy of epic proportions because jealousy consumed him. He could have had a great reign, utilizing a gifted champion like David to the full in his kingdom. Instead, he spent the vast majority of his 40 year reign as a jealous despot, living a life full of misery, anger, bitterness, paranoia, and distance from God. What a sad picture of the ravaging effects of jealousy.
Don't let jealousy eat your lunch as it ate Saul's. Quit comparing, start realizing, and enjoy a life lived for His glory and the fame of His name!
Jeff Schreve is Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Texarkana, Texas. He and his wife Debbie have been married for over 20 years and are blessed with three wonderful girls. Jeff began From His Heart Ministries, a radio and television ministry, in January of 2005. This ministry is completely listener/viewer supported. It continues only through the faithful and generous gifts of people like you. Pastor Jeff takes no salary from this ministry. All gifts go to further the broadcast.