Monday, October 26, 2009

Jealousy, The Application

Some practical applications of my ongoing struggle with jealousy in regards to:

1. Confess a competitive spirit. While it is difficult to always know what our motives are, I need to be quick to repent when this motive rears its ugly head. When I get that little bitterness feeling when someone gets the laughs and I don't, when other people have what I don't, when other people are happy and I'm not, when other people can do things and I can't, I need to confess that. Repentance of this must be quick and regular.

2. Develop an appreciation for the gifts that God has given to you. If you are a Christian, God has gifted you. True, in your area of gifting, you will find others more gifted than you. For instance, if I think my gifting is music, I will find others more gifted than me in the area of music (see: Bob Kauflin, Andrew Papillon, Animal from the Muppets, and William Hung). But, that's not the point. The point isn't that God make us the greatest at music, sports, preaching, or whatever. The point isn't to be the greatest, but to serve the One who is the greatest. Our gifts are not to bring honor to ourselves, but to the One to whom honor is due. Jealousy takes root when we think that we should be God (see: the greatest worship leader who ever lived--Lucifer).

3. Pay attention to your own house. If the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, then water your lawn. Meaning: Be content. If you are jealous of what you perceive are better parents in another family, stop. Cultivate godly relationships with your own folks. If you are jealous of Tim's abilities on piano, stop. Start practicing the piano. Don't mope. Don't sit on your duff. Don't whine. Work.

4. Glory in the success of others. Of course, live for the glory of God. But its OK to appreciate, build up, praise, encourage, help, show honor to, and glory in the success of others. When someone does a good job, give thanks to God and tell them they did a good job. When someone has fun, is brimming over with happiness, and wants that joy to spill over to you, you don't have to:
A: Be lame
B: Be critical
C: Be a killjoy
D: All of the above (Read: Be jealous)
Rejoice with those who rejoice.
The hardest time for me to praise someone else is when they are good at something that I'm good at.
Superficial example: If we are playing a game of football, at least in most crowds, I think I would make a pretty good quarterback. If someone else plays quarterback (and does well), it is hard for me to praise that person. I get jealous and I don't want to give him or (heaven forbid) her that praise, because I think it should go to me.
Slightly more serious example: When I hear other people teach, I (sometimes) get jealous. I want others to praise my teaching instead of someone else's. This is sin.

5. Ask God to help you see yourself realistically. This is a great gift. To know how God has made you and to live within this. Let's keep with the football illustration (it is Pack vs Vikings week after all). If I am playing 5-on-5 football and I see that 8 of the other guys are better than me, I know some things: 1) I am going to request that I guard that 10th guy, 2) I am going to be the worst player on my team, 3) I shouldn't whine that I am not getting the ball every play--there are other players who are better and who should get it more.
This can go all kinds of directions, but the point is that we see ourselves realistically. I am not the body of Christ. I am part of the body of Christ. There are (a lot of) others who can do (a lot of) things better than me. A little humility will save us from (a lot of) sin.

God has endowed me with certain gifts--I don't need to be proud.

God has endowed others with certain gifts--I don't need to be jealous.


  1. Dan, this post really convicted me.
    Making some changes.
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Dan, nice to see you blogging.
    But, I was surprised that you forgot about me when you crowned the "greatest worship leader ever."
    Hopefully you can set the record straight in a later post.

  3. thanks kelly,

    sorry josh, you had an off-beat congas player back in the summer of 2003 when you played "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" during Music Class of JV Camp--that immediately disqualifies you...