Recently, a friend of mine who had some great things happen in their life, was sharing with me and I felt a little bit of a “poor me” response in my soul. In no way did I begrudge the wonderful blessings my friend was experiencing but I knew in my heart that it made me feel bad for myself because it was something I wanted to experience also and was not.
Feelings like this left unattended can put one on the path to having jealousy in their heart and I refuse to harbor that plague of the enemy. I’ve experienced jealousy before and it made me feel terrible.
I never was a very jealous person though. I credit my salvation at a young age and Mom with teaching the fundamentals of “thou shall not covet” to us when me and my brothers were little. (I was saved at church when I was seven and I had a good upbringing in the Word. However, in my older teen years, I did walk away from God.)
But back to Mom’s teaching: If someone had something we admired, Mom taught us to say: “I would like to have something like that,” instead of: “I’d like to have that.” It may sound simple (And I’m aware that just because a child says they would like to have something someone else possesses, it does not necessarily mean they would like to take it away from them) but the different phraseology meant the difference between announcing a desire to possess something I liked instead of coveting something someone else had and wishing I had it instead of them. Just changing the way I said something helped me to look at the matter differently when I was growing up. I believe that kind of thinking helped plant non-jealous characteristics in me.
But I remember something that happened in church a few years after I came back to God at the age of twenty-eight. I must have been about thirty when a young woman came to our church to minister to us in song. She was great. Her song-writing and guitar playing was inspiring and then she sat down at the piano and continued to blow me away with her musical ability and her beautiful voice.
I remember beginning to feel jealousy towards her. It was awful. I lost the ability to enjoy the service. It was like a black shadow draping my heart. I hated the way it felt and knew I had to get rid of the jealousy. But what could I do? I just knew I couldn’t stand it. I remember bowing my head and confessing to God what I was feeling. It was over-whelming and I knew I needed His help.
That’s when the miraculous happened. He truly touched me and helped me that very moment. A thought instantly came into my mind: “You are both using My gifts to you. You are worshipping me together.”
The Holy Spirit of God filled my heart with so much love for that young woman then that even though I don’t think I’ve ever seen her since, (she was from another state) I still feel love for her when I think about that episode in my life.
Needless to say, I was able to begin to enjoy the service again and I never forgot the work the Holy Spirit did in me. What a blessing from God!
The experience also taught me an important lesson: Jealousy is a human emotion that makes me feel terrible and causes me to lose the joy knowing God gives me. But if I confess it to God and ask His help, in His love and mercy, He will help me. He will restore my heart with His own love and jealousy will not have a place there!
So, back to my current-day experience with my friend and the seed of jealousy I was in danger of letting get planted in my heart. I knew I had to pray or I would be saddled with that horrible growth so I took the matter to God.
After I prayed, I was working in my kitchen and a scripture came to me. I remembered when Jesus was telling Peter the things that would happen to him in the future. They weren’t very pleasant and signified the kind of death Peter would die. So, Peter asked Jesus: “What about him?” The Bible says Peter was asking about John. And Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me.” (John 21:22)
Of course, I thought. That takes care of everything for me. My focus has to be on what God would have ME do–not on what is happening or not happening in my life in comparison to how much someone else is being blessed. If I keep my eyes on Jesus, then I won’t let those other things cause me to stray. They won’t take away my joy and I can have the right heart about the matter before God. It was the perfect answer and I knew it came from God.
Thank You, God!
As I stated in a song I wrote recently to Him: “You will always be enough.”