What is Jealousy?

I recently read something that left me feeling sad…

“Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.”

But at it’s core, it’s jealousy!

To have such envy and jealousy that it tears him up inside, that even something dies in him when a friend succeeds.

What is jealousy?

Jealousy (dzay’-los) zelos from zeo = to be hot, to boil. It’s where we get the English word zeal, ardor in embracing, pursuing, defending anything. But also has a bad sense, can mean an envious and contentious rivalry.

Jealously can be a lack of love.

Bible Quotes For Jealousy

James says…For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. James 3:16

We see probably the most wicked act of jealousy in the bible in my opinion when Herod had all the baby boys 2 years and under killed so Jesus wouldn’t gain access to what he had. Matthew 2:16

Then there was Cain who murdered Able because of jealousy and why? Because Able’s deeds were righteous. 1 John 3:12.

Even Miriam and Aaron were jealous of Moses in Numbers 12:1-9. Then Saul was jealous of David to the point of wanting him dead 1 Samuel 18:8.

Humble Future: Why Did Saul Want to Kill David? Out of Jealousy ...

Then the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15 was jealous of the younger. We can’t forget Joseph’s brothers can we? So many more people in that bible that acted out of envy and jealousy, far too many to list.

Then there is a righteous jealousy that I can see in the bible about God. He is jealous in Exodus 20:5 and Zechariah 8:2 and many more, too many to mention, but then again He’s God.

Paul also speaks of a godly or divine jealousy in 2 Corinthians 11:2.

Paul's Relationship to the Corinthians | CROSSWAY CHRISTIAN CHURCH

Then again Paul is recorded in Romans 11:11-14 that salvation was granted to the Gentiles to provoke jealousy in Israel to some how bring them to faith.

Jealousy is listed in the deeds of the flesh in Galatians 5:19, 20… As the sin of jealousy pops its ugly head out, one writer says that “jealousy means to boil and speaks of the inner seething that comes from wanting something that someone else has.”

In the case of the church at Corinth there were all sorts of jealousy and divisions among that congregation. 1 Corinthians 3:3. That is not love for the brethren Hebrews 13:1.

Love is not jealous and without love it profits us nothing 1 Corinthians 13:3, love says honor one another Romans 12:10, loves says rejoice with those who rejoice Romans 12:15.

What’s the cure for jealousy?


Paul said in Philippians we are called to be like Christ… Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others Philippians 2:3, 4.

” Can you work to make others look good without envy filling your heart? Can you minister to the needs of those whom God exalts and men honor when you yourself are neglected? Can you pray for the ministry of others to prosper when it would cast yours in the shadows?”

Donald Whitney (Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life)

What’s another cure for jealousy?

Paul gives us a great answer!

Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Romans 13:13, 14 [Emphasis Mine]

This is a picture of clothing ourselves with Christ and His righteousness. And have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him Colossians 3:10 !

“Whenever a friend succeeds, a little something in me dies.”

Not for a Christian!

But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Clothing ourselves with Christ, having our contentment in God, loving each other and regarding one another more important than ourselves.

That’s the cure for jealousy!

Whenever a friend succeeds
I will rejoice and be glad!

…and that’s a beautiful thing!

Comments 3

  • When I read in Philippians:

    “3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

    I can’t help but think of all the amazing people helping those in need during this time- I am humbled and honored to know them as my brothers and sisters in Christ.

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