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How to Combat Jealousy and Find Joy

Jealousy is the kind of emotion that can sneak up on us without warning, but leave us in a state of real unrest if we don’t deal with it.

Personal Growth
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Can you remember the last time you felt really jealous? Maybe it was a small moment that faded quickly, or maybe you haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. Jealousy is the kind of emotion that can sneak up on us without warning, but leave us in a state of real unrest if we don’t deal with it. That’s because even though it might feel like the root of our jealousy is between us and the person we’re jealous of, it’s actually a problem between us and God.

While envy is simply Jealousy sprouts through comparison - and while we might think we’re focusing on what someone else has, we’re actually focusing on what we don’t have. And that comes down to what God has, and hasn’t, given to us as the scriptwriter of our lives.

The Bible tells a cautionary story of jealousy in 1 Samuel 18 in the lives of King Saul and David. It’s a reminder that even though we have certain hopes and plans for our own lives, we aren’t the ones in control - we can partner with the scriptwriter (God), but we don’t dictate the script. And the sooner we realize that, the sooner we can free ourselves from the holds of jealousy.

James 4:1-3 is a powerful reminder that when we don’t take our desires to God, we set ourselves up for the enemy of jealousy to affect our hearts. It reads,

“What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”

James 4:1-3

It’s natural to deal with jealousy - but we can be intentional about combating it if we’re willing to take action and protect our hearts:

1. Admit You’re Jealous

Accept that jealousy is something that exists in your life (because it’s true for all of us!). And then accept that it’s not between you and others - it’s between you and God.

2. Talk to God

Be open and honest with God about how you feel - believe us, he can take it! He wants to hear all of your questions, desires, and what you hope to accomplish now and in the future. Bring him in on your plans.

3. Trust the Scriptwriter

Then comes the hard part - give it all to him. Know that even though you have a plan laid out for your life, it may not line up with what God has written for you...and be ready to trust that what he writes is better than what you plan.

Jealousy is a choice, not a fate - and we all have the opportunity to combat it when we choose to trust the story that God has written for us over the one we try to write for ourselves. When we find peace in what God has given us instead of jealousy in what he’s given others, we can rest in joy instead of struggling in jealousy.

Hear more about jealousy, joy, and how to trust the scriptwriter in our message Joy Over Jealousy from our sermon series Enemies of the Heart.

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