As believers in Jesus, we know jealousy is a sin. Yet I don’t hear many people talking about it.
I have been on the receiving end of someone’s jealous plots many times. It has broken my heart, destroyed friendships and created a web of distraction that has delayed my work for the kingdom of God.
In high school I was elected president of my class, and the person who lost started a petition to impeach me the next day. When that didn’t work, she did other mean things. It wasn’t until my reunion years later that one of her friends came to apologize to me and said, “We were jealous of you.”
Now I know many of us have had terrible experiences as kids, and that shouldn’t determine our futures. But as our brains develop, we learn how to avoid conflict and stress. We make subconscious choices to avoid pain all the time.
That experience made me not want to excel at anything. I didn’t run for president the next year, but vice president. I took a step back and didn’t go for best because I saw the cost. And now in my adult years, when I experience jealousy, I hesitate and first count the cost. I’m not proud to say sometimes I decide it’s just not worth it.
Recently I was praying about a painful, unresolved conflict in a previously close friendship. I had tried everything I knew of to stay connected, reach out in love and seek understanding. I had prayed for wisdom so I'd know what God wanted me to do.
But I’ve learned sometimes God will wait to share something with you until you are ready to hear … and have a pure enough heart to pray for that person without judgement.
I was reading James 3:14-17 and was struck by the seriousness of jealousy (emphasis mine):
But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.
Jealousy is pure evil and demonic! We can tell what's going on by the fruit: Jealousy creates falsehoods to be spoken, boasting in self, disorder and vile practices.
When God showed me what was going on I nearly corrected Him … surely that’s not it! But as I added up what I now know about jealousy, I saw it … it had been going on for years, and I didn’t want to face it and lose the friendship. But to be honest, jealousy destroyed it anyway.
What Jealousy Does
Jealousy is a spirit sent to destroy your calling, because it attacks the very thing you are anointed to do through the relationships God’s arranged. Its a curse spoken against you with the intention to stop you from entering God’s purposes.
Jealous people are originally meant to be the ones to advance you. They are the ones God chose to partner with the good He is doing in your life. They were chosen to cheer you on, introduce you to people, brag about you and support you.
Because they see what is so great about you! The fact that they see it tells us that God gave them eyes to see! When someone sees great things in you, they make one of two choices. They support you and partner with God, or they get jealous and work against you by partnering with the spirit of jealousy.
When we are jealous, we are being influenced by the enemy. He is jealous that God loves us enough to give us a path to redemption. He doesn’t have that opportunity; he is forever separated from God because he was jealous and wanted glory for himself. Jealousy seeks glory for self and not others.
If someone is jealous, they will talk badly about you to make themselves look better. They will alienate you from others, not introduce you to their friends or promote what God is doing in you. They will sometimes be your friend just to get information from you so they can compete with you. They will use it to take control by inciting others against you. They can't work alone because the spirit of jealousy needs agreement. So often they find others to agree with their bitterness and strengthen their case. It's so vile … it defiles many.
With all that going on, it’s hard to be compassionate toward them. But if we take a deeper look, we can see what’s going on with them. They are hurting because they are insecure about something. They don’t feel they measure up. They don’t know their worth. They don’t know there is no one just like them, and because of that God has something for them and something for you. They don’t lose because you gain, but they can’t see that. In fact, they may gain something in their life by supporting you!
Are You Jealous?
You may hear yourself saying things like you aren’t jealous of someone, but you sense something is “off” with them or you are “setting healthy boundaries.” I encourage you to see the fruit of your thoughts. Is it bringing division or unity to the body of Christ and that relationship? Does it make you mad when others think highly of that person? Do you want to make sure others are warned and don’t fall prey to that person? Those are symptoms of control … and control comes from a spirit of jealousy.
We see it in Scripture with Saul, who was jealous of David. Joseph’s brothers were jealous of the favor he had from his father. Cain killed Abel because of jealousy. Jesus was killed because of jealousy from religious leaders. In each case the jealous party tried to control the other person. And it was the reason for their ultimate downfall.
Kris Vallotton says this about jealousy:
Sometimes it calls itself discernment as it searches the heart of its victim looking for reasons to discredit them. But the gift of discernment, anointed by the spirit of jealousy, is suspicion. Suspicion is discernment's wicked stepsister. Jealousy is pure evil. It opens the door to demonic spirits in our life like no other sin.
I pray you are freed from a spirit of jealousy. It seeks to destroy the destiny of you and the other person. My dear friend, it's not worth the cost.
God, please forgive me for being jealous of (name). I repent for anything I’ve said or done against (name). I break all agreements I made either knowingly or unknowingly with the enemy. I ask that you come and free me from the spirit of jealousy. I bless (name) to be successful in what you’ve called them to do. I ask that you show me how I can support their purpose in this earth for your glory. Please give me opportunities to speak well and celebrate them. I pray that what the enemy has stolen will be returned, and increase will be given to us both in Jesus' name. Thank you for your ever-increasing favor in my life and in the life of (name).
Loving this content?
Sign up for updates!
I'll send you new blog posts, podcasts and my quarterly newsletter with things not posted anywhere else!