No one wants to admit they are jealous, but if you’re battling to happy in the successes of others, this is for you. Join me for scripture reading Jealousy and Comparison.
Hello friend. This month’s scripture reading is going to be centered around jealousy and comparison. I think this is a neglected topic, specifically in modern Christianity, so let’s talk about it.
What is Jealousy and Envy
Envy, jealousy and comparison are feelings rooted in insecurity, greed, and pride. Jealousy is the feeling of being replaced or outshined by a rival. Envy is the coveting or discontentment by another’s possessions, circumstances, or qualities. Both of them keep us from realizing our own potential.
Social media, for example, is a great catalyst for feelings of envy. It provides us an intimate glimpse into someone’s private life. We see their vacations, fun events, new houses, new jobs, and even romantic relationships. It’s easy to start comparing your life against someone else’s. Perhaps a friend’s life seems more exciting than yours. Maybe someone seems to be surrounded by countless friends or maybe a neighbor or coworker always seems to have financial blessings.
By the way, if you feel that social media causes these feelings to arise, I suggest quick amputation either temporarily or permanently. For help on quitting social media see my two posts Living Without Likes: How I Broke Up With Facebook and Social Media Detox.
I’m Not That Jealous
Many of us don’t think of ourselves as overly jealous, but here are some basic questions you might ask if you feel there is a problem. (Excerpt from the book Mind Over Emotions by Les Carter)
- Do you work hard to come out looking good in situations?
- Do you tend to be status-conscious?
- Are you willing to pass on negative rumors about a successful person?
- Do you need a lot of recognition for achievements?
- Do you find it hard to pay compliments to others?
- Do you base your self-image on your performance?
- Do you have hidden feelings of inferiority?
- Do you complain about unfair treatment?
Once you look at yourself honestly, I think the next step is to examine what your triggers are. As I mentioned above, some people are triggered by things they see on social media. I think this is in part because many people only share their highlight reel. But if we find that something like social media causes us to sin, we should be willing to part ways with it. Better to be right with God than a slave to sin. Take a moment and inventory your triggers. This can also be telling about where are insecurities are.
Remember Your Identity in Christ
Earlier this year, I shared a scripture reading post, Identity in Christ. Knowing who you are in Christ really does solve a lot of life’s problems. Our value does not stem from the material things of this world. We aren’t even valued because of what we do in this world. I think if we understood how sinful we are, we would understand that the only thing God owes us is wrath. Secondly, if we understood that all we deserved was wrath, we’d spend our time being grateful for our salvation and sanctification instead of desiring materialism which is fleeting and temporal.
So instead of focusing on the materialism, we don’t have, I think it’s important we focus on what we have already been given – everlasting life, salvation, sanctification, etc. Spend some time in the Word reading about what God says about His elect.
The deeper my relationship with Christ, the more I understand the need for gratitude. It really is the remedy for lots of our problems. We limit the power comparison has over us when we focus on our own blessings. Yes, they are blessed, but so are you! If you are keeping score and trying to balance blessings on a scale, you will be eternally frustrated. Furthermore, I’ve learned to realize that many times the blessings of others pour into my life as well.
Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.Harold Coffin
Perhaps you have a friend who is talented at party planning. Maybe you’ve even asked her to teach you, but you can’t seem to do it with the same ease and creativity as she does. You can be envious of her gift or you can be grateful that you have access to her talents and imagination when you need party planning help. A perspective of gratitude is a great cure for envy.
Understand That Christ is the Ultimate Blessing
Envy ensues when you feel an imbalance of success, gifts, or talents. This perceived disproportion causes feelings of insecurity and fear – as if there are only so many blessings to go around. For instance, sibling rivalry is the feeling of being overshadowed by a sibling. It can create feelings of scarcity when it comes to the love of a parent (e.g. if my mom loves my sister there will be less love for me).
It is important to remember that our focus as Christians isn’t on materialism, worldly desires, or even blessings. As Christians, we are called to die to the self. It isn’t that God doesn’t bless us materially, He does. Rather, it’s that we aren’t supposed to be attached to it. Wealth and prosperity are just some of the things that we must be willing to put aside in order to follow Christ. If we find ourselves consumed with feelings of envy or jealousy of another person because of their material blessings, I think we need to examine our conscience. We are very likely sinning and in need of repentance. Christ and our relationship with Him is the most precious blessing we could ever receive aside from our salvation.
Also, in 2 Corinthians (v. 9-8) Paul reminds us of the reason for blessings – not for our glory, but for HIS. So that we “will abound in every good work.” Finally, we’re also told in Ecclesiastes (3:1-8) and Deuteronomy (28:12) that we go through seasons of blessings and droughts.
Ask God To Remove It
The first thing I recommend doing when these feelings spring up is to confess it. Tell God how you feel and why you are struggling with it. Confession is powerful because secrets control us. They become a stronghold. The enemy would love nothing more that to see you fester in resentment. Reject it and ask God to help you work through those feelings. Also, ask him to help you recognize the blessings he’s already given you and to give you an attitude of gratitude.
If you should desire to be like anyone, let it be Christ and not other sinners and imperfect people (Proverbs 23:17).
How to Use This Scripture Reading
First, please do not take these scriptures out of context. Context means that you read only this verse and apply meaning to it. Rather, take a moment and start reading at the beginning of the chapter. Instead, you’ll focus on these verses, but within the context of the text. Here are some things to ask yourself when studying scripture:
- Who wrote the text?
- To whom is the writer speaking?
- Who is involved in the verses?
- What are the cultural and historical contexts?
- Why did the author write the book?
- What themes stand out?
- When was this written?
- What does this text say about God and His character?
- What does the text say about man’s sin nature, character, or condition?
- How does this fit into the big picture of scripture / the Bible? (Fall of man, salvation, sanctification)
Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison
- 1 Corinthians 3:3
- Ecclesiastes 4:4
- 1 Corinthians 10:13
- James 4:11
- 1 Corinthians 13:4
- Proverbs 14:30
- Proverbs 27:4
- Psalm 143:8-9
- Romans 12:21
- James 4:2-3
- Galatians 5:22-23
- 1 Peter 2:9
- 1 Corinthians 1:27-29
- Philippians 2:3
- Psalm 37:1-3
- James 3:14-16
- James 4:7-8
- Galatians 5:14
- Colossians 1:11
- Song of Solomon 8:6
- Galatians 5:19-21
- Philippians 1:15
- Romans 1:29
- 1 Timothy 6:4
- Acts 17:5
- Proverbs 23:17
Thank you for joining me for Scripture Reading Jealousy and Comparison. Don’t forget to PIN this post for later. Also, take a look at my earlier Scripture Reading Topics:
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