Comparing ourselves to someone else is a race we can never win.
We will always lose – we lose relationships, we lose contentment, we lose the ability to see anything good in our lives, we lose spiritually, and we lose emotionally.
How do we feel when someone else has an ability, a characteristic, or material goods that we want? When does that wanting turn into jealousy?
Envy – Jealousy – Coveting
“Envy/jealousy/coveting is best defined as a tendency to hate other people for having what we want. Envy says, ‘What is inside me is bad. What is outside me is good. I hate anyone who has something I desire.’” (from “Safe People” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend).
Envy can taint our thinking so much that the loving and generous people in our lives become the “bad guys”. We end up hating people who are really good to us, good for us, and who love us.
How twisted is that?
Those who want the best for us become our enemies because of the extreme jealousy we have over their abilities.
Comparing ourselves to others and wanting what they have will result in jealousy. Jealousy kills relationships, and it destroys us.
This truth is evident in the relationship between King Saul and David. David is just a young shepherd boy when he’s sent to the Israelite camp to bring supplies to his brothers. When he arrives, he sees Goliath, the Philistine giant, taunting the terrified Israelite army. David takes his sling and a bag of rocks and kills Goliath, crediting God for his victory. David becomes a war hero, and Saul eventually puts him in charge of his soldiers. They have a good relationship.
Then in I Samuel 18:6-9, that relationship changes because of Saul’s jealousy. The Israelite army comes home from war, and the people are crediting David as a greater warrior than Saul.
After that time, Saul saw David through this fog of jealousy, and he was never able to shake those feelings. He’d try to kill David, then he’d be sorry, then he’d get jealous again and try to kill him. His jealousy started as a tiny seed and grew until it defined his entire life. David could have been Saul’s greatest friend and trusted general, but instead Saul allowed his jealousy to see David as a threat and an obsession.
Glorify God with Your Gifts
God has made us all unique, and gifted us with abilities for us to use, for His glory, not ours. Isaiah 43:7 tells us we were created to glorify God:
…“everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for My glory, whom I formed and made.”
We need to use the abilities God has given us and do them as best as we can. We can fine-tune what we are good at and keep learning something new (we might be really good at that, too), because we are each individually filling in a gap that someone else can’t do.
We need to look at other’s abilities and rejoice that their skills are glorifying God in ways that we can’t do.
What do we do when we have jealous feelings?
Pray about it and stop feeding those jealous thoughts.
Self-control over our thoughts is possible. We don’t have to entertain thoughts of jealousy, we can yell “stop” in our heads (or out loud!) and do something else. By entertaining jealous thoughts, it’s like we invite them in, give them a coke and some popcorn, and put them in the guest room. They will never want to leave!
We need to run the race we can win.
We need to do what we can do for God’s glory, to the best of our abilities, and let others do their best for God’s glory. In this way, God’s family is being built up, and we achieve the purpose that God has set out for us.