a devotional by Rachel Roth
I have always been a person who gets jealous very easily. It’s not something I want to do…it just happens…
I have been in denial of it for a long time, but have recently realized that denying it isn’t going to help anything; this is something that I need to work through, something I will need the Lord’s help with.
I know that jealousy is a sin, as much as I try to deny it. I know it hurts me, it hurts those around me, and worst of all, it distances me from my Lord and Savior.
1 Peter 2:1-3 says, “Therefore rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies crave pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.”
Let’s break this down:
Although Peter is addressing this letter to Christians in Asia Minor suffering religious persecution, I believe that what he is saying can be applied to our lives as well.
He calls us to get rid of malice and deceit. Malice is the desire to do evil and deceit is concealing or misrepresenting the truth.
He calls us to get rid of hypocrisy- claiming to have moral standards that one’s behavior does not match.
He calls us to get rid of envy- feeling resentful longing toward someone else’s possessions or qualities.
Lastly, he calls us to get of slander- making a false statement damaging to someone’s reputation.
I know I am guilty of all of these things, and “getting rid of them” is easier said than done. I have struggled with gossiping, where do I draw the line between venting and gossiping? I created a gossip jar that I am supposed to pay a dollar each time I gossip. However, I haven’t put any money in yet, I have been too lenient on myself.
What I realized though, is that instead of trying NOT to gossip, I want to try to focus my attention on how I can speak positive truths about others, to bring out their positive qualities.
Whenever I feel annoyed or jealous of someone, I want to ask God to help me find something positive to say about them and put it in the jar. If there is some type of issue that I am having with this person, then I want to confront the person first before telling everyone else about it behind their back.
I think this can apply to the things Peter listed for us to get rid of as well. Instead of trying NOT to be jealous, we can seek to be content and confident in Christ alone, seek to be grateful for all we have, and have compassion on others, not putting them up on a pedestal but remembering they are human too, feeling joy for them when things go well.
Let’s break down the second part of what Peter said:
That we would be like newborn babies, craving pure spiritual milk- that we would crave God’s Word, His truth, that we would seek to be like Christ.
If we put all our attention on getting to know Christ and trying to follow His example, we won’t have time to sit in jealousy or get caught up in any of the others sins he mentions.
I challenge you now to ask yourself, are there any of these sins that you are struggling with? Are there any people you are feeling jealous of? Are there any people you are feeling annoyed with that it would be tempting to gossip about to a friend?
If you have accepted Christ into your heart, you have tasted the joy that can be experienced in Christ, maybe you are not experiencing it right now, but you have tasted the Lord’s goodness before. Why would we want to go back to any of those things Peter listed if we know they only hurt us and bring us away from God?
Maybe you haven’t accepted Christ yet, that’s okay. I do ask you to ask yourself, what is stopping you from tasting the Lord’s goodness? It can be scary to give up control of your life to someone else, to admit that you can’t do this life on your own. I want you to know that God is trustworthy and that He will take care of you no matter what.
Lastly, if you have related to any part of this devotional, I challenge you to take a vow with me now, a vow to get rid of all jealousy in our hearts, to let God fill us with an ability and desire to rejoice with others when they succeed, and to always remember that God doesn’t call us to succeed in life, but rather to surrender everything to Him.
Inspired by Liz Curtis Higgs devotional: Who, me? Jealous? http://www.todayschristianwoman.com/articles/1997/september/7w5060.html?start=4