Jealousy is one of the main reasons marriages, friendships, ministries and congregations are falling apart. Just about anything can move one to jealousy. Sometimes jealousy moves one to the extent where a person becomes physically hurt or even killed. At the root of the problem of jealousy is a feeling of being threatened by someone else. Many Bible stories bring out the theme of jealousy. In this post, we will mention Bible stories to compare the different circumstances in which jealousy manifests.
Favoritism, A Major Instigator of Jealousy
The story of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 37 is a profound example of jealousy. In Genesis 37:3 we learn that Joseph was loved by his father Jacob more than his brothers and was also given a tunic of many colors. “But when his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they hated him and could not speak peaceably to him.” Genesis 37:4 In this verse we see how jealousy was birthed out of an act of favoritism. This favoritism eventually induced hate and contention among Joseph’s brothers.
The problem of favoritism within the family continues to be a driving force for jealousy. A mother or father may not verbalize their preference for a particular son or daughter. Yet the unique way in which the child is treated tells the others that the child is favored. In the case of Joseph, favoritism in the family can lead to hate, bitterness and contention.
If the issue is ignored, the jealous individual might take a more drastic approach to voicing their concerns. This might lead to the physical separation of the individual. In the initial stage, Joseph’s brothers hated him because their father loved him more. But once Joseph shared his dream, they hated him even more to the point of conspiring to kill him and finally selling him to the Ishmaelites.
You can only imagine the hurt Joseph felt from being sold without his consent. He also had to deal with being separated from his father. Understandably, jealousy can be the basis on which individuals become depressed, weak, fearful, anxious and violent.
Jealousy Triggers Violent and Abusive Behaviors
Let’s consider the situation between David and King Saul. Saul understood that David had been anointed as king. This might have moved him to jealousy, since the Lord’s spirit had departed from him because of his disobedience.
But Saul’s emotions towards David grew worse after the people mocked him in song saying, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 1 Samuel 18:7 This song made Saul extremely angry. When he realized that David was esteemed to be greater than he, Saul eyed David from that day forward. This is an example of how one person’s success can stir jealousy in the hearts of individuals who have not accomplished the same thing.
This sort of thing does not only occur between co-workers and in friendships, but it also manifests in marriages and in certain ministries. Any inequality between a husband and a wife can cause the party who sits at the lower end to feel jealous. Financial inequality, academic achievements and self-esteem issues are some of the circumstances which may provoke jealousy in a spouse. When a spouse is jealous, he or she might begin to portray malicious and abusive behaviors.
Jealousy also manifests in ministries too! When God begins to use or elevate certain individuals in ministry, some members of a congregation might be moved to jealousy. Jealousy has no boundaries as to when and where it chooses to manifest. The question to ask then is, how does one overcome the spirit of jealousy?
Key Biblical Counsel & Warfare Strategies For Your VICTORY
The spirit of jealousy is not of God.
It is important that children of God realize that this spirit is an unclean spirit which therefore means it is not a spirit of God. “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but isearthly, sensual, and demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.” James 3:14-16.
There is no fear in love.
Jealousy often time arises out of fear of losing a person or spouse to someone else. However, the moment we can recognize through God’s Word that fear does not exist in love, we position ourselves for victory over the spirit of jealousy. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18.
Seek Christian counseling.
You can seek Christian counseling as a key step to finding long-term solutions to you problems. A Christian counselor can help to unveil the different internal and external factors that are leading to jealousy. When these issues become known during counseling, the Holy Spirit will guide you on how to achieve victory using some key strategies which include engaging in spiritual warfare.
Bind up the spirit of jealousy in spiritual warfare.
Like the spirit of fear and anxiety, the spirit of jealousy can also be conquered in effectual spiritual warfare. Binding up the spirit of jealousy in warfare will probably be the most critical strategy to finally overcoming jealousy!
Angela Lowe, MS. Ed., LPC
Angela Lowe is a licensed Professional Counselor, trained Biblical Counselor and certified Holistic Health Coach. Her kingdom mandate is to restore God’s counsel to transform lives, marriages, and churches worldwide.