Anger is cruel and wrath is like a flood, but jealousy is even more dangerous.
I don't know a single person who hasn't at some point wished his/her life was different. We all look at others around us, compare our lives to theirs, and decide what we have is a bit lackluster. We wish for more money, a greater talent, a higher status, a better car, a nicer home, or sometimes even to trade lives entirely, thinking that someone else's family situation would be much better than our own. We are all guilty of wanting what someone else has, of coveting, of jealousy.
God focuses on jealousy in the Bible many, many times. He wants us to understand that harboring jealousy in our hearts is dangerous to us and to our relationship with Him. When we are jealous of others, we are proclaiming to God that we don't have time to thank Him or worship Him for all He's done in our lives because we are too busy being angry and upset that He hasn't given us the same things He gave others. Having a jealous heart does not demonstrate a life of worship.
Do you realize that being jealous could be the root of several other issues in your life? Just a few months ago, I was struggling with jealousy in my own heart, and the Lord prompted me to do a word study on the subject. What I found surprised me. I always saw jealousy as only that: envy and covetousness. However, God opened my spiritual eyes to a concept I never took into account before. Allowing jealousy to thrive in my heart was turning it into a breeding ground for so many other issues: resentment, bitterness, spite, suspicion, distrust, insecurity, and anxiety. Think about that list for just a moment. Doesn't it make sense?
When we are jealous of others, we are already full of insecurity because we've stopped focusing on the One in Whom we live and move and have our being. In addition, we will begin to resent and feel bitter toward whomever we are jealous of; after all, the source of our discontentment is our focus on what they have and why they have it. We don't just wish we could have what they have; we also begin to evaluate why they are allowed to have what we want but we aren't. We focus on all the negative things about those other people, justifying in our minds that we are no worse than they are or possibly even better than they are, so it doesn't seem right that everything good happens to them and nothing good comes to us. This resentment and bitterness turn to suspicion and distrust because we obviously cannot trust people who are so [insert whatever negative things you decided upon earlier.] Once we stop trusting people, we automatically think they are out to purposefully hurt us, so we begin looking for ways to spite them because we need to get back at them for hurting us. All of these negative thoughts and negative actions produce anxiety in our lives, and before we know it, our minds and emotions are spiraling out of control. We put ourselves in the position to be filled with so much hate and hurt all because we stopped being thankful and started being jealous.
God is a good God. He takes care of us. He loves us. He wants what is best for us. Having jealousy in our lives is like telling God we don't trust Him. When our lives are controlled by what we don't have instead of what we do, we are allowing our bitter hearts to turn us into whiny, mean, unappreciative people who think we are entitled to everything we want because we are better than everybody. This is not the life God has for us. He has a life of peace and joy filled with His provision and prosperity. When we look to Him and praise Him for what we have instead of being consumed by what we don't, we will have lives and relationships that are full of confidence, contentment, trust, and satisfaction.