The Juggernaut of Jealousy…Keeping Up with the Joneses (Song of Solomon 8:6)
Song of Solomon 8:6, “Jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.”
When it is said, “someone is keeping up with the Joneses” it means that they are doing something in order to show that they have as much money as other people, rather than because they really want to do it. Many people are holding down three jobs and purchasing items they really can’t afford, just to keep up with the Joneses. The day we stop comparing ourselves to others will be the day we start living life to the fullest, the way God intended for us to live.
It has been said that a jealous man's horns hang in his eyes. Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other and they would spend each day keeping track of each other's business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night, an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!"
The root of jealousy is insecurity. When we are insecure with ourselves, we will always compare ourselves to others. This only leads to disappointment, because as long as we try to be like someone else, we’ll never find fulfillment in being who God wants us to be. The only escape is to get secure in Christ. As we concentrate on who we are in Him, we can be content with the way God made us. Thank God for the great people in your life but also thank Him for the way He made you. When you do this, instead of bringing others down to your level, you will rise to theirs. The jealousy in you and me won’t stand a chance.
Henri-Frédéric Amiel said, “Jealousy is a terrible thing. It resembles love, only it is precisely love’s contrary. Instead of wishing for the welfare of the object loved, it desires the dependence of that object upon itself, and its own triumph. Love is the forgetfulness of self; jealousy is the most passionate form of egotism, the glorification of a despotic, exacting, and vain ego, which can neither forget nor subordinate itself. The contrast is perfect.’” Human jealousy always leads to destruction not construction. Jealousy is a dividing force strong enough to tear apart the mightiest or the closest of friends. When you find yourself becoming jealous of others, try thanking God for their good fortune. Before striking out in anger, consider that you could lose a friend, a job, a spouse. One sign of jealousy is when it's easier to show sympathy and "weep with those who weep" than it is to exhibit joy and "rejoice with those who rejoice." Jealousy is not love, because love is self-giving, while jealousy is self-serving. Jealousy is nothing other than frustrated selfishness and ambition. Jealously is when we see in others what we want for ourselves, and in our anger, we direct our bitterness at them. Why should they have the benefits we lack? In our minds we pull them down and find fault. Charles Caleb Colton said, “Of all the passions, jealousy is that which exacts the hardest service, and pays the bitterest wages. Its service is — to watch the success of our enemy; its wages — to be sure of it.”
God deserves our undivided devotion. God's jealousy is justified (Nahum 1:2). God alone has the right to be jealous and to carry out vengeance. His jealousy and vengeance are not tainted with selfishness. Love is the greatest weapon against jealousy. Saul tried to kill David because he was jealous of David's popularity, yet David continued to protect and comfort Saul. Perhaps people have been jealous of you and have even attacked you in some way. They may be intimidated by your strengths, which make them conscious of their own shortcomings. It would be natural to strike back or to avoid them. A better response is to befriend them (Matthew 5:43-44) and to ask God for the strength to continue to love them as David kept on loving Saul.
Points to Ponder:
PRAYER: Lord, Forgive me for the jealousy I struggle with. Help me to develop an attitude of contentment. In Jesus' name. Amen.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.