Jealousy: What it is, Where it comes from, & How it looks

Over the course of this year the Lord has taught me many things.  One of these things that really struck me was the topic of the fear of man vs the fear of the Lord.  Today I want to break down for you one of the results of the fear of man: jealousy / envy.

Jealousy isn’t just the boy who wants to date a specific girl or the teenager who didn’t get the car someone else got. 

Really jealous behavior is choosing to do things your own way instead of God’s way and is a primary result of the fear of man. Which also means that the fear of the Lord (the exact opposite of that behavior) is the cure.

There are many stories throughout the Bible that illustrate this like Haman vs Mordekiah or King Saul vs King David, but today I want to just outline some of the main points of this behavior so we can more easily identify it. 

We will talk today about what jealousy is, where it comes from, and what it looks like in action.

Our Text

14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth. 

15 This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic. 

16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice.

James 3:14-16 AMP

What is Jealousy?

  • Jealousy Defined
    • 1. zeal, ardor in embracing, pursuing, defending anything: 
    • 2. an envious and contentious rivalry, jealousy: 

As you can see there’s actually two different definitions for the word jealousy in the Bible. One is a zeal or positive attitude toward something.  Maybe that’s I really want to do something for God and that ends up with you making it happen on your own instead of doing it God’s way. 

The other is the traditional definition we think of.  It’s the person who isn’t content where they are and wants something out of reach. 

Where Does Jealousy Come From?

JEALOUSY ROOTS IN FEAR

The fear of man brings a snare, But whoever trusts in and puts his confidence in the Lord will be exalted and safe.

Proverbs 29:25 AMP

As I already talked about in the opening sentences of this blog post, the fear of man is the primary cause for jealousy. 

That term “fear of man” isn’t really something we use everyday, but really it just means to respect and put in a place of reverence the opinions and thoughts of mankind and people.  

This is wrong because the Lord and His ways should always be at the forefront of our thinking. 

Just like an animal runs headlong into a snare in the woods for lust and intense desire for the food placed in the center of the trap, so too many men and women fall prey to traps in this Christian walk because of their intense jealousy and lustings after things they want.

How Jealousy Looks Like In Action?

The Bible is very plain as to what jealousy looks like in action.  As I break these down it may help to read our primary text for today again.

Arrogant Defiance of the Truth

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth.

James 3:14 AMP

The actions of a person operating in jealousy always come back to what they want.  It’s not about giving the truth of the Word of God first place. Instead it roots in an arrogant desire that says, “I know better. I want this thing and I want to get it my way not God’s way.” 

Clinging to natural, secular and even demonic wisdom above God

This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic.

James 4:15 AMP

To go along with the last point this arrogant defiance of truth leads to a clinging to natural and secular wisdom.  Which as we see here, this kind of wisdom is even demonic. 

This wisdom is the wisdom the world gives and John said this about it.

5 They [who teach twisted doctrine] are of the world and belong to it; therefore they speak from the [viewpoint of the] world [with its immoral freedom and baseless theories—demanding compliance with their opinions and ridiculing the values of the upright], and the [gullible one of the] world listens closely and pays attention to them.

1 John 4:5 AMP

The first step into the behaviors listed above is an acceptance of secular and natural thinking brought on by jealousy and selfish ambition. 

Confused in your actions and behavior

For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice.

James 3:16 AMP

Jealousy brings confusion and every evil work into the life of the one who is eaten by it. 

There is unrest, rebelling, morally degrading practices, a lack of peace, and so much more that enters into the life of a believer who yields themselves to this type of behavior. 

Wrapping Up

If you’re not sure the direction your life is heading in right now, check up on your motivations surrounding these things.  

  • Are you in arrogant defiance of the truth?
  • Do you cling to natural wisdom above God’s Word?
  • Are you confused about where you’re headed and the actions you’re taking?

God speaks clearly to those who will listen. 

Maybe you don’t know the Lord, but your life feels like a shamble. You’re confused about where you’re supposed to go in life, you have no clear direction, everywhere you go you end up feeling empty and unsatisfied. 

The answer isn’t found in a situation or obtaining the next thing on your list of desires.  

Fulfillment can only come through knowing the satisfaction of a real, personal relationship with Jesus. 

Today, I want to invite you to open your heart to the best gift you could ever receive. 

All the fighting and strife and confusion brought on by bitter jealousy and selfish ambition will melt away when you place the Lord as first place in your life. 

The Bible says, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord [in prayer] will be saved.” (Romans 10:13 AMP). 

Jesus is ready to welcome you and satisfy you. All He requires is you pray and ask Him to do so. 

Prayer of Salvation & Dedication to the Lord

Lord I repent for behaving in a jealous and self ambitious manner.  I choose to do life your way right now. You Lord will satisfy my internal longing.  I call on your name today and invite you to come into my heart. Wash me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I trust in you today for my salvation. 

In Jesus name, Amen

Prayer of Salvation & Dedication