How to Deal with Jealousy as a Christian
As Christians, we are not immune to jealousy because we desire to have the things that others do. Living in the world has made us desire earthly things, and when we don’t get them, we become jealous of those who do. Sometimes, in our jealousy, we obtain what is not rightfully ours. Jealousy begins in the heart, and this is the first place we must address it if we are going to overcome it. To deal with jealousy as a Christian, turn to God and ask for His help.
Deal with Covetousness
In Exodus 20:17 God commanded us not to covet what others have. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Coveting something another has is yearning to possess it because you want it. Left unchecked, this attitude will lead to jealousy where you resent others for having what you want and don’t have.
God is clear that we are not to covet the things of others and we are to be content with what we have. Being content with your life as it is does not mean that you will not have the things you desire. It means that at the right time, you will have what you need to live a godly and righteous life. Not everything we want is for our good and that is why we sometimes don’t get the things we ask for in prayer. But if we allow God to purify our desires, then we will have what is good for us and it will bless our lives.
Paul gave us a secret to avoiding covetousness in Philippians 4:11-12. “Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”
Be content with your life even when you don’t have everything you want as you work toward getting those things you desire. You will find that a lot of things that make you jealous of others are not what you need in your life right now. Jealousy will make you lose friendships because you will not appreciate the success of others. Be happy for others, and thank God for blessing them with the things you pray He will bless you with one day.
After Paul told us that he has learned how to be content in any situation, he went ahead to say how he does it. “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). God will help you live a life of contentment without having to envy others. He knows that it is not easy living in this world with all its pleasures, and that is why He helps us with the grace to obey Him.
Seek the Things of God First
One way to beat jealousy is to focus your attention on the things of God. As much as you need many other things, God knows you do, and has a plan to provide you with them. He says in Matthew 6:32-33, “These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”
Having God’s promise that He will provide you with the things you desire is comforting. This should give you hope that as you seek the things of God, and live a righteous life, He will answer your prayers and give you your desires.
When your mind is focused on living right according to God’s Word, even the things you desire will bless your life, and you will be happy to have them. Imagine finally getting something out of jealousy because others have it, and then realizing it is not what you wanted. Even worse, it ends up costing you a fortune to maintain it. This is why being jealous of what others have could destroy your life if you are not careful.
As a Christian, your focus is on building God’s Kingdom knowing that it will not be in vain. Matthew 19:29 shows us that leaving behind some things to serve God is not in vain. “And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life.” You don’t have to be jealous of others because you feel the Christian life will not allow you to have some things.
You may give up your favorite things to live for God but that does not mean He will not bless your life with those things or others. You may have had to leave behind your nice house and car to go serve God in another location and the stress of being car-less makes you jealous of those who have cars. One day God will provide you with a car that will bless your life so much. It’s only a matter of time.
Set your mind on things above, and not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2). This will steer your mind toward the things of God, which are eternal, and earthly things will not have a hold on your heart.
Dealing with jealousy will take the grace of God. Start by repenting for harboring jealousy in your heart and not trusting God to give you what you need. Tell God all the things you are jealous about in others lives, and give Him a chance to minister to your heart. Receive His healing and deliverance and put your trust in Him. Pray over the things you desire out of pure motives and trust that at the appointed time, God will answer your prayers.