We’re talking about emotions. So far, we have covered Fear, Anger, Shame,  and Sadness. Today, we’re talking about this delicate emotion called Jealousy.

How many of you know what it feels like to be jealous?

Even if we don’t admit it, we get jealous, right? Some of you might be jealous right now of the persons standing next to you because they had more rest this week. They’re carrying their luxury bag– while the only ones you have are your eyebags.

How do we look at jealousy in the context of how God sees it?

Open your Bible at the Book of Genesis Chapter 4:1-5 about the two children of Adam and Eve:

Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant.

When she gave birth to Cain, she said, “With the Lord’s help, I have produced a man!” 2 Later she gave birth to his brother and named him Abel.

When they grew up, Abel became a shepherd, while Cain cultivated the ground. 3

When it was time for the harvest, Cain presented some of his crops as a gift to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought a gift—the best portions of the firstborn lambs from his flock. The Lord accepted Abel and his gift, 5 but he did not accept Cain and his gift. This made Cain very angry, and he looked dejected. –Genesis 4:1-5 NLT

The Gifts

In the story, we have two brothers — Cain and Abel.

Cain was a farmer who brought crops to the Lord. Abel was a shepherd who brought lamb.

We don’t know why God did not accept the gift of Cain but accepted the gift of Abel.

But thank God, the Book of Hebrews explained it to us:

While I was studying this, it seemed to me that sometimes, we can give God a gift. But if we don’t give with faith, it’s unacceptable to the Lord.

How do we know if we’re giving a gift with faith?

I do not know. Because we don’t see each other’s faith. One thing I perceive– what Abel’s gift makes him a righteous man was that he didn’t expect anything in return– unlike Cain did

A righteous person is someone who can give but not expect something back.

The problem with Cain was he gave to God– but only as his response to how God reacted to the occasion…which aroused his emotion of jealousy.

I pray that the message today is something that you need. Preach this to your seatmate today: “Entrust your desires to God.”

Lord, this is Your Word. It’s alive and active. But until we put it into practice, it’ll be meaningless. In the few precious times that we are together, we ask You to be the conductor of this symphony. Allow Your Word to sink deep in each one’s heart so that no thief can take it away from us. Thank You, Lord. We hear You loud and clear. This is our prayer, in Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Thy Word is a Lamp unto my feet and a Light unto my path.

When Jealousy Kicks In…

May I make a confession? I’m also human and I get jealous from time to time.

I have this one person in my life whose name is Sid and he is my childhood friend. We grew up together. We knew each other’s stories. We came from humble beginnings.

I love this guy except that whenever I see him, he’s the image of success– at least in my eyes. I saw him grow up.

He’s now a commercial director. When he became successful, I saw his life gradually improve. He started buying cars, properties, and going on vacations.

During the Coronavirus Disease (COVID) Pandemic, Sid and his wife made the bold decision to uproot their kids– their whole family– and they bought a piece of land in El Nido, Palawan. Some people dream of going on a beach vacation once or twice a year. But Sid is at that beach resort for the rest of his life.

So, whenever I see his posts and stories on Instagram, there’s a part of me that just gets jealous. I wish that I could also afford to be at that beach every day.

Let me make this clear. My wife and I live a comfortable life, but we don’t have a big land like Sid has.

My wife and I live in a small condo unit in Quezon City that keeps getting smaller as the kids get bigger.

I’m grateful for my life because we have a solid roof over our heads. We eat three square meals a day. We have enough money to start building our house.

In short, we’re okay.

But sometimes, that’s the problem — we’re not okay with just being okay. We want more, greater, and better. That’s when jealousy kicks in.

Is Jealousy Bad or Good?

Now let’s define jealousy. Some of you may be confused. The common textbook definition of jealousy is that awkward insecure feeling that you have when your romantic partner starts becoming attracted to  those Korean drama actors. In Filipino, we call that “selos.”

But jealousy is broader than that.

For example, one day you’re riding on the bus to work, like you’ve always done.

As you look out the window, you see your former high school classmate who was also commuting when you were still in school. But now, he’s driving a BMW. Let’s make it fancier. He’s driving a brand-new Audi luxury vehicle.

So, it got you thinking, “What in the world happened? Twenty years ago, we were on the same boat but now there’s a big wealth gap between us.”

Gradually, you feel that tinge of jealousy.

Another example. You suddenly decided to attend the monthly gathering with your friends. You haven’t attended for a year because you were busy at work. As you arrive at the party and scan the room, you realize a glaring truth. Everyone there is either married, engaged, or in a relationship. In your case, the only relationship you have is with food– which, by the way, is not bad.

You say to yourself, “No wonder, I’m also our group’s designated photographer.” That’s where jealousy also kicks in.

Jealousy is everywhere. Where is the place where jealousy thrives the most?

On social media. Isn’t it true that whenever you look at your social media, everybody is doing something amazing– except you? As you scroll your phone in the middle of the night, jealousy kicks in.

Question: Is jealousy a sin? Jealousy is not a sin. It’s not a bad emotion but the way you respond to jealousy will determine whether it’ll become sinful or not. There are no bad emotions. Only bad ways of dealing with them.

The Four Gifts of Jealousy

Every emotion has a gift. Jealousy has four gifts:

Can you imagine if the Lord did not create you to have desires? You would either be a robot, a puppet, or a zombie. You’re living on the outside but on the inside, you’re dead

Your desires are supposed to push you to your goals.

If you are jealous of someone, you cannot be jealous forever. You should get your act together.

Not all desires are healthy.

Have you ever desired for a triple cheeseburger, a large soda, and large fries at 3:00 a.m.? Those are not good for you.

How many of you felt jealous of someone because they’re wearing the size of the clothes that are just your dream?

So, you worked out and starved yourself. Finally, you fit into that size.

But suddenly, you feel empty not just physically but also emotionally. As you chase the things you’re jealous of, you’ll find out that at the end of it all, you’re still hungry.

Why? Because you’re not meant to just pursue worldly wealth. You’re meant to pursue God.

Is Jealousy Different from Envy?

Is there a difference between jealousy and envy? It sounds the same but if you peel the layers off the concept, you’ll see they’re different.

You’re jealous because you want to have something that another person has but you don’t have. But if you’re okay with that person, you won’t do anything about it.

Envy is when you start to hurt the other person. Envy is malicious.

That’s what happened with Cain. He killed Abel, his brother. It started with a desire to please God but since jealousy turned into envy, his jealousy turned into a desire to kill Abel.

When you allow your small desires to go unchecked you’ll realize that your desires have turned dark.

Proof? David defeated a giant named Goliath. But David lost to a woman named Bathsheba he desired.

The real giants in your life, my Friend, are the ungodly desires that you are not defeating, that you’re not dealing with. If you don’t deal with the small desires, they become giants.

How do I know that my jealousy is becoming a big problem? I’ll give you three ways:

When you spend an obscene amount of time, energy, and resources just focusing on that jealousy and you begin to look like a stalker in social media. You do everything to get the same thing that that person has.

You’re starting to resent the person you’re jealous of even if he or she isn’t doing anything wrong to you. In your head, you’re creating rumors, invisible weaknesses, and flaws of that person– to compensate for your insecurity.

You’re   just   not resenting the person you’re jealous of. You are now resenting yourself. You feel that you can’t measure up to the standards of that person.

How do we get out of this jealousy trap? How do we get out and make sure we don’t operate in jealousy that turns to envy? Let me share with you seven steps:

Identify who or what you’re jealous of. Because you can’t fight an unknown enemy. Men are proud to say that we’re sometimes jealous. It’s easier to be the object of jealousy than to be the one who feels jealous.

Go to your safe person and acknowledge that you’re jealous.

Whenever I’m jealous, I tell my wife that I’m jealous about something. Not only that I feel lightened but also humbled to acknowledge before the Lord that I’m human.

So, talk with people you’re safe with.

Gratitude is a magnifier. When you’re grateful, you become thankful of the things you possess. It reveals the truth and removes the blindness in your eyes– to know the truth that you’re already blessed beyond belief.

So, be grateful for what you have.

This is a difficult step.

Sometimes, when you feel that someone is being more blessed by God, you start hating that person.

But hating other people will not prevent God from blessing them. It only undermines your understanding of God’s ability to love each one of us in His own unique way.

When you start celebrating the wins of other people, you’re beginning to trust in God’s provision.

You won’t get the blessings you ask for when your motives are wrong. Your jealousy blocks your heart from receiving that blessing.

When I learned of my God’s calling that might not be the same for you, I realized that I need to run my own race. I need to plant in my own garden. The grass is greener when you water it. Pursue your own calling.

This is the most important step.

Jealousy will come today. It will come tomorrow. It will come next week.

It will come next month. And the more you are equipped and empowered to attack and manage jealousy, the more this will determine your success.

So, form lifelong habits.

Not the Bottle…But the Place

On the surface, the message tells you that the reason you’re jealous is, “I want what they have.”

But jealousy tells you that there is not enough blessing to go around… “Because God seems to be blessing others more than me.”

When I look at jealousy, I actually picture bottled water. When you buy this from the streets, it costs around P15.00 to P20.00. When you buy it from a supermarket, it’s around P20.00 to P25.00. In cinemas, it’s priced from P40.00 to P50.00. From selected restaurants, it’s priced at around P80.00. In expensive places like Balesin or Amanpulo, it’s from P250.00 to P650.00.

It’s crazy, right? It’s the same bottled water. The one thing that changes is the place where they sell it.

My point is that the next time you’re overwhelmed by jealousy, and you feel worthless because you’re not as blessed as others, my advice is to go to where you are appreciated.

It’s not in the value– it’s in the place. That’s how the value changes. Jesus said something so wild in the Book of John:

Say this: “Lord, I am blessed. I am favored, and I am loved.”

You’re God’s child. If you declare that to the heavens, it won’t matter how God is moving in the lives of other people.

Because what truly matters in your heart today is that there is a God who loves you that much to bless you. There’s no need to be jealous, envious, and to keep on grabbing blessing after blessing.

God will bless you in His own time and in His own way. Say this with me:

Dear Lord, I am Your child. I am blessed. I am welcomed. I am loved. I am deeply favored. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


This story was first published in the Feast Family Online News Magazine

Published by THE FEAST (June 9, 2024)


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