REPOST Today’s Spiritual Food for Thought, first posted on March 14, 2015, is provided by Pastor Yohan Lee, a friend of AMI, who in the past has served as a staff at several AMI churches. He is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania (BA) and Cairn University (MA).
Spiritual Food for Thought for the Weekend
“Feelings of Jealousy”
1 Samuel 18:6-9
As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments. 7 And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” 8 And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” 9 And Saul eyed David from that day on.
Have you ever had a friend or knew somebody who was always good at everything? Smarter, funnier, better looking, more social, more successful, etc. When I was growing up, I had a friend who fit this description, and as much as I cherished our friendship, I couldn’t help but feel jealous. I grew up in a culture where comparing yourself to others was something innate within us. Mothers would always compare their children to other children like trophies to be bragged about at their next hangout.
This culture doesn’t stop there, but I see it as I walk through San Francisco today where you can feel the co petition. It’s almost as if no one can actually be genuinely happy for someone’s success without a part of them feeling, “Where’s mine?” Charles Spurgeon describes this reality as “the depravity of our nature that we do not readily rejoice in the progress of others if they leave us behind; but we must school ourselves to this.” Everything we do is relative to what the person next to us does, and as we compare ourselves to each other, jealousy is inevitable. We’ve all seen it, been a part of it, guilty of it, and we all know the dangers of it.
Here in this passage, we see that jealousy takes root in the heart of Saul. Any victory that Saul took pride in, David accomplished more. Saul was king by title, but it seemed like David was king in the hearts of the people. Saul compares his worth to that of David’s achievements and forgets that it was God who had ordained Saul as king. Jealousy leads to Saul’s unexplainable feelings of anger, discontentment, and threat as he is now crippled with fear and insecurity. It not only destroys Saul’s calling over his life and his heart, but also the work that God is doing through David.
It’s easy to dismiss such an account because maybe we have not let our jealousy lead to murder. However, how many times has jealousy robbed us of our own calling and anointing over our lives? Rather than understanding and living in the identity that God has called us in, we see others and can’t help but feel less competent, and it’s hard to feel genuinely happy for them. Thus, we strive to be more like them, to be better than them, and create expectations that only leave us emptier. Essentially, when we are being jealous, we discredit the unique gift and calling God has over our lives. As D.L Moody said, “My friend, if you are jealous, the only man you can hurt is yourself.”
Take some time to reflect on areas in your life where you find feelings of jealousy that have led to feelings of bitterness and insecurity. Maybe you feel like you’re not good enough and you’re asking, “Where’s mine?” Remember God the Father, His name is Jealous and unlike people, His jealousy is rooted in an unexplainable love for you. He loves you for who you are and not for what you can offer or for your achievements but simply as His child. Remind yourself and believe that He has a special calling over your life tailored to who you are. Remember all the things He has done and thank Him. Let us strive to not be like others, but to be more like Christ.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, it is so easy to feel jealous of those who seem to have everything. Remind me that as long as Jesus is my life—and he is indeed in my life—I have all that I will ever need in this age and the age to come. Thank you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Hosea 7