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2:08 AM   [18 Sep 2016 | Sunday]

Eradicating Jealousy and Envy

 We all know that jealousy and envy should have no part in our lives, along with the Church as a whole.  Yet, they seem to have a gained a foothold individually and collectively.  In order for them to be removed from the Body of Christ, they must be dealt with on the individual level.  One or two people who have jealousy and envy can negatively impact an entire church or organization.  No one likes to admit this is something he or she struggles with, even though they do want them permanently out of his or her life.  So, how do we destroy this monster?  The short answer is walk in love.  Sounds simple enough, but is it?

Not only does perfect love cast out fear (see 1 John 4:18), it eliminates jealousy and envy.

Unfortunately, not everyone has had a full-on encounter with perfect love.  Many don’t fully understand it, so they have difficulty receiving it; especially, from God.  Couple that with the fact they don’t fully embrace their identity in Jesus Christ, and therefore, are hindered by feelings of unworthiness.  If you don’t feel worthy of God’s love, you won’t receive it.  You’ll try to earn it and still come up feeling short.  If you think you have to earn God’s love, you don’t know really know Him as a loving Father.  His love cannot be earned; He freely gave it to you.  Secondly, you don’t fully view Him as good.  A good father is impartial with his children.  Our Father indeed is impartial.  At the same time, He celebrates our individuality, which means everyone has the opportunity to have a unique relationship with Him.  The Father has special gifts for each of His children.  Because He’s eternal with all power, we never have to worry He will run out.

Because God is equal, He will never bless one of His children while withholding from another. 

Just because one is blessed, it does not mean another will go without.  Let me illustrate this point on a natural level.  If my wife and I gave one of our sons a piece of candy, the other two knew they were going to get one too.  They recognized we were equal with them.  When our Father blesses our brothers and sisters, we have no reason to be jealous or envious of them, He will bless us too.  Consider this, Jesus said the Father “makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).  That means He even blesses those who aren’t His children.  The challenge for us is to rejoice for those whom He blesses.  In fact, by loving them well, there is no challenge.  The more we celebrate one another, the less jealousy and envy can gain a foothold in our lives.  We ought to be each other’s greatest cheerleaders in the Body of Christ.

If Jesus is not your First Love, your motives will not be pure.  Furthermore, anything you do apart from love will not profit you (1 Corinthians 13:1-3). 

In fact, in light of Matthew 7:21-23, it could be detrimental.  That being said, why would someone do anything in the Name of Jesus without love behind it?  In simplest terms, the answer is validation.  Until you come to grips that your identity is in Jesus Christ, which makes you a well-loved child apart from works, you will seek to be affirmed by what you do and what you possess.  When someone asks, “who are you,” your response tends to encamp around the things you do, your occupation and so on.  When you know who you are, you will realize what you do is the result of your identity.  Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship (masterpiece), created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  This passage makes it clear that our good works are the result of who we are in Him.  When you do things for affirmation sake, you are still looking for love.  Once you’re truly convinced of God’s love for you, you will be free to labor out of love.

Jealousy and envy creep in when someone else is recognized for their accomplishments, when you feel un-affirmed by others.  It is difficult to celebrate someone besides yourself when you don’t feel fully appreciated.  It’s hard to put the spotlight on someone else, when you want it for yourself.  This is so far from giving Jesus the honor He is due.  If we are supposed to do all things as unto God, then everything we do and say should point right back to Him.  Jealousy and envy will not give Jesus glory, especially since they want all of it for themselves.

None of us can afford to be glory-hounds.  As it is written, “Outside are the dogs . . .” (Revelation 22:15). 

Galatians 5:16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.  By walking in the Spirit, you will walk in perfect love, and in so doing, eradicate jealousy and envy.

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