John MacArthur said, "One of the hardest battles a Christian must fight is against jealousy. There is always someone who is a little better…than you are." We all struggle with the desire to be better.
Jealously rears its ugly head whenever you compare yourself to others and belittle their accomplishments or abilities or possessions in thought, word or deed. At its root, jealousy speaks of a passion or burning desire to have what belongs to another. Jonathan Edwards said it is the "spirit of dissatisfaction or opposition to the prosperity or happiness of other people." I think we can see how unloving that is!
Do you want to have more joy? Do you want to have less strife within you family and within you church? There is hope; It comes in two steps: "put off" and "put on!"
First of all, you "put off" the sin of jealousy. This requires you to ask the Holy Spirit to make you aware of any jealousy in your heart. Jealousy or the tendency for jealousy is not always an obvious sin. Oftentimes it can remain hidden, but still alive and well, lurking around in the heart. Ask God to make you aware of your sin in this area. Confess the sin to God and others if necessary and repent. Battle the sin with the truth of God’s Word. As John Piper says, “make war with your sin!”
Second, in the place of jealousy, "put on" three patterns of thought.
First, develop a biblical sense of identity. Oftentimes our jealousy comes from a fear of losing something very special, but a biblical sense of identity immediately cures these ills. Base your identity on the opinion, affirmation and acceptance of God and not people (1 Cor. 4:4). Be secure in God’s love as it is spoken to you in the Scriptures!
Second, "put on" contentment. Instead of complaining about "fairness," learn to be content in whatever situation you find yourself (Phil. 4:11). Learn to be satisfied with whatever God has given you. You see, when we show jealousy, which reveals a lack of contentment, we are basically putting God’s sovereignty and God’s goodness on trial (Matthew 20:1-16).
And finally, "put on" thankfulness. Instead of being so concerned for what others have, learn to be thankful for what you have. Learn to count your own blessings. Learn that you will be less likely to be jealous for another if you realize God’s generosity in your own life. Furthermore, if you really want to fight jealousy, begin to give thanks for the very people that tend to make you jealous. Be happy for them!
Here’s the big question: Can you rejoice in the success of others even when it works against you? If you can get to this spiritually mature position, you have successfully destroyed the sin of jealousy.
“Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full into His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of His glory and grace.”
If you are looking to Jesus, you won’t be comparing yourself with others.