Please don’t deal with jealousy as a personality disorder. Avoid thinking of it as a genetic trait you never chose. Don’t ascribe it to social environment or upbringing. The Bible never points to any of those factors to discuss jealousy. The Scriptures do, however, deal with it as sinful disobedience. Galatians 5:20 includes it in a group including “hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions.” That’s a deadly gang, and jealousy can cause each of the other four sins listed there. Paul included envy as a sign of “the debased mind,” describing those who are “full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness” (Romans 1:29). Again, an unpleasant roll call of personality traits.
It’s clear from God’s Word, then, that we need to face the sin of jealousy with deadly seriousness. Peter says we are to lay it aside and leave it—to walk away briskly (1 Peter 2:1). James says we will find envy and self-seeking in the places where confusion and every evil thing lurk (James 3:16). Paul wrote to the Romans about jealousy, and he said, “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness [lust] and lewdness, not in strife and envy” (Romans 13:13). According to Matthew, it was envy that delivered Jesus Christ to the cross: “For he knew that because of envy, they had delivered Him” (Matthew 27:18). It’s the ace up the devil’s sleeve, the weapon that never fails.
Jealousy and envy, according to the verses we’ve seen, are right up there with lust, lewdness, drunkenness, murder, and evil-mindedness. We can’t afford to dismiss these as personality disorders.
David Jeremiah, Slaying the Giants in Your Life (Nashville, TN: W Pub., 2001), 12–14.
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