Let's look at another area to keep watch over our hearts.
Jealousy is rather interesting. Most of us would like to believe that we are "above" jealousy. It was something we may have struggled with in middle school or our elementary years, but not anymore. However, if you've ever found yourself looking around at what others have and feeling a sense of lack—whether that be possessions, looks, skills, opportunities, health, height, inheritance, or any other factor—chances are you've experienced a little bit of envy.
Interestingly, we assume our problem is with the person who possesses what we lack. So we avoid them or mistreat them. We make comments that are riddled with criticism. Our problem, however, isn't really with the other person. Our problem is actually with God. God could have fixed all of that for us. Whatever He gave your neighbor, God could have given to you too. He could have made your life just like theirs—or better. But He didn't. Jealousy ultimately says, "God owes me."
The sad news is that jealousy can terrorize your life and cause chaos in your relationships. The remedy to this monster is to turn to God and to celebrate the goodness and wisdom of God in others.
Check out what James has to say about this matter:
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. (James 4:1-3 NIV)
James says that many of our problems with others are the result of desires that have worked their way to the surface. We want something, but we don't have it, so we fight and quarrel with others. The desires James is referring to in this passage represent unquenchable thirsts—our thirsts for more stuff, money, recognition, success, progress, intimacy, sex, fun, and relationships.
So what do we do with these desires for more? James says to take the desires to the one who created them in the first place. In other words, James is giving us permission to pour out our hearts in an unfiltered conversation with our Creator.
Every concern you have—great or small—matters to our Father because you matter to the Father. Whether it pertains to your love life, your career, your marriage, your parents, your children, your education, your finances, your appearance—James says take it to God.
As you take it to God, there's one next step to consider: publicly celebrate God's goodness. Particularly, you celebrate God's goodness in other people's lives. When you celebrate God's goodness, you will not only be reminded of how good and great God is, but you will also begin to shine a light on the very things for which your heart is aching. As you do this, jealousy begins to lose its power.
Here are a few questions for reflection:
Notes from the Staff @The Woods