Jealousy and Envy, Attitudes not Pleasing to God

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“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21/NIV).

Here is a list of actions, reactions and attitudes that are unacceptable to God. Although being Christian believers at times we may be prone to one or the other of the issues mentioned. Yet this is not what God desires from us.

In the text of the New International Version here both are mentioned: jealousy and envy. To me these words are somewhat synonymous.

These are mentioned alongside with other sins. As we give way to jealousy or envy, many other sinful thoughts and deeds may be under way too.

Paul exhorts the Galatian believers not to yield to any of these things. Rather they should focus on the new life that Christ is giving them. “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” (Galatians 5:16/NIV).

As we accept Christ and receive forgiveness of our sins, we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. This opens a new perspective to us. We are not any more slaves to our own emotions and sentiments. Something new has begun. We are to give way to the new attitudes that now are being fostered within us.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22/NIV).

“Love does not envy.” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Paul encourages us to yield to the love of Christ.

Enten u. Tauben 21.04.15 099T

 

 

 

 

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Jealousy Early in the Bible

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We find one incident of an individual being guided by jealousy very early in the bible. It was not long after the first men had been dispelled from paradise.

Cain and Abel were born only after that incident. They came to life only after their parents had followed the seducing voice.

Adam and Eve had disobeyed God. They had eaten from the forbidden fruit. The devil had promised them they would be able to discern good and evil by themselves. The story of their children shows that henceforth evil became an option to humankind.

Still, it seems, both Cain and Abel had some kind of desire for God. They were bringing an offering to God from the fruit of their labours.

Now this is where the disharmony showed up. Cain was sorely disappointed and upset as his brother’s sacrifice was better received by God than his own. “The Lord looked with favour on Abel and his offering; but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favour.” (Genesis 4:4b-5a/NIV).

When Cain became that dismayed God began to speak to him. Many Christian believers today have a desire to hear God’s voice. God’s words to Cain were very plain:
“Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.” (Genesis 4:6+7/NIV).

Cain was enflamed with jealousy against his brother. But also he was upset with God, because he did not really like Cain’s offering.

As we entertain envious feelings towards others we also tend to accuse God himself. Wasn’t it God who allowed others to have certain things we would desire for ourselves? Did not God grant our fellow men the strength and the opportunity to be more successful than we ourselves?

In the story of Cain and Abel we do not find an answer to all questions some of us may have. Yet God makes it very clear to Cain that he is not unjust as for whose offering and prayers he receives and whose he doesn’t accept.

It is our own evil deeds and the reactions of our sinful heart that separate us from God. God will never condone evil. We may be tempted in various ways. Thoughts and desires may linger around us. God, however, requires from us that we should not yield to sin.

Shortly after that Cain killed his brother Abel. This shows how prone he already was to doing that which is wrong.

Entertaining jealous emotions may easily lead us to the very opposite of loving our fellow men. Jealousy is not an activity of a loving heart. “Love does not envy.” (1 Corinthians 13:4/NIV).

Enten u. Tauben 21.04.15 099T

 

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