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This topic is adapted from THE BEAT by Allen Parr YouTube channel.

What do we do when we find ourselves envious and jealous of someone else? Allen Parr gives us five considerations to help us overcome jealousy.

The Happiness Lie

Reject the idea that “If I only have X, I will truly be happy.” The enemy uses this to keep us chasing after everything but God. Two passages help us understand this.

Luke 15:11-32 shows us a young man who thought he’d be happier living the “good life.” But halfway through the story, he realizes what a fool he’s been and returns home to his loving father. Even with a large sum of money, he ended up with the pigs.

Ecclesiastes is about how the author tried to find happiness in wine, women, wealth, and work, yet he kept coming up empty.

Ecclesiastes 2:11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.

True happiness couldn’t be found apart from the writer’s relationship with God.

The Measuring Stick Syndrome

The enemy would love nothing more than for us to constantly compare ourselves to other people. When we are most vulnerable, we may become discouraged because we don’t have what others have. God cautions us against this.

Exodus 20:17 You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.

God commanded Israel not to covet one another’s possessions, relationships, and successes. Why? Because he knows envy is toxic. It destroys relationships and makes us prioritize false idols rather than healthy connections with God and others.

[Related: 5 Problems with Greed]

The Mirror Principle

God can use our jealousy to reveal what is going on inside of us. Jealousy reveals the idols in our lives. If we are consumed with pursuing something, it is probably revealing that we are more interested in pursuing this thing rather than in pursuing God.

Matthew 6:24 No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

[Related: How Greed Works]

Guard Against Ungratefulness

In the book of Numbers, Israel wandered for forty years in the wilderness. This is because God was displeased with their constant complaining despite his miraculous deliverance from Egypt and his provision for them in the desert by caring for their clothes, protecting them, and feeding them. Despite God visibly doing so much for them, they were consumed with what they didn’t have. So God punished them by not allowing them to move into the promised land themselves. Except for a few faithful followers like Joshua and Caleb, the whole first generation died off and it was their children who entered the promised land of Israel.

Jesus taught that God provides for our needs, so we don’t have to let ourselves be dominated by fear or lack of trust, and we don’t have to obsess over what the world tells us we should have.

Matthew 6:31-33 So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ 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.

[Related: The Futility of a Me-First Mindset]

The Humility Test

If you are jealous and envious of others, you must have the humility to confess your jealousy. It can help draw you closer to this person and provide them an opportunity to show you how they got to where they are. Instead of being envious and jealous, it can become a positive motivation to toward what God has for you, not for others.

James 5:16 (ESV) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

[Related: The Idol of Envy]

The Bible warns us about jealousy over and over. Cain killed his brother Abel out of jealousy, and if we are not careful, it will also “kill” our relationships with friends, family, and church family. If you are jealous and envious of other people’s relationships, families, jobs, houses, or anything else, it’s time to come clean to to God, to yourself, and to trusted Christian friends who will hold you accountable and pray for you. Don’t let envy rule your life any longer.

Written content for this topic by Daniel Martin.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
  2. What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
  3. Who or what are you jealous of?
  4. Have you ever known someone who is excessively envious or jealous, maybe even yourself? Describe that person.
  5. Have you ever been tempted to think, “If I just had X, I would be happy?” How did that work out?
  6. Describe a time you were ungrateful, or describe someone who has been ungrateful to you. How did you feel afterward?
  7. How do you think God feels when we do not show gratitude to him?
  8. Why do you think people are jealous and envious of one another?
  9. Exodus 20:4 says God is jealous. What does the context of the passage show about God’s “jealousy?” How is this different from human jealousy?
  10. Of Allen’s five principles above, which resonated most with you? Why?
  11. Write a personal action step based on this conversation.

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