What does the Bible say about jealousy?

Question: "What does the Bible say about jealousy?"

When we use the word jealous, we use it in a sense of being envious of someone who has something we don't have. This kind of jealousy is a sin and is not characteristic of a Christian – instead it shows that we are still being controlled by our own desires (1 Corinthians 3:3). Galatians 5:26 says, “Let us not become conceited, or irritate one another, or be jealous of one another.”

The Bible tells us that we are to have the perfect kind of love that God has for us. “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). The more we focus on ourselves and our own desires, the less we are able to focus on God. When we harden our hearts to the truth, we can not turn to Jesus and allow Him to heal us (Matthew 13:15). But when we allow the Holy Spirit to control us, He will produce in us the fruit of our salvation, which are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). James 3:15 says, “For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil.”

Being jealous indicates that we are not satisfied with what God has given us. The Bible tells us to be content with what we have, for God will never fail or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). In order to combat this, we need to become more like Jesus and less like ourselves. We can do this by forming a personal relationship with God. We can get to know Him through Bible study, prayer, and church attendance. As we learn how to serve others instead of ourselves, our hearts will begin to change. “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is” (Romans 12:2).

Recommended Resource: Biblical Antidotes to Life's Toxins by Glenn Gunderson.

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What does the Bible say about jealousy?