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If I am not my own, then why am I jealous?
Jealousy is all about comparison. It's about one-up-manship. It's about feeling better about myself because I have more notches in my stick than you do...or feeling like a failure because I don't. Jealousy causes me to be unduly critical of those who achieve greater success than I do, it robs me of joy, and it sets me on a path toward discouragement and defeat. At its core, jealousy is about finding my worth, security, and delight in something other than God.
God created each of us as unique individuals: no two people are exactly alike. Each of us has been gifted to reflect God's glory in a unique way.
For me, as a writer, that means I am called to write the story God has gifted me to write. Yes, I have much to learn from other writers, but writing is not a competition between me and the author of today's New York Times best-seller. God requires me to give an account of my obedience to his calling on my life - He does not require me to give an account of how well I fulfilled his calling for Best-seller Bob.
Karen Ball posted an excellent article at The Steve Laube Agency this week about the green-eyed monster called Jealousy and about how it preys upon writers, in particular. Karen confronts jealousy as sin and she exhorts writers to repent of the comparison game. Then, she issues a challenge to turn the temptation to indulge in jealousy into an occasion for praise instead: instead of envying the writer whose success is greater than mine, I can rejoice with other writers over God's blessing in their lives! (You can read Karen's entire post HERE.)
Jealousy demonstrates a large view of myself and a small view of God: when I am jealous of another's success, I believe and act on the lie that life is all about me, and not about my Savior.
I am thankful for the reminder in the Romans passage above that whether I live or die, I am the Lord's. Because I am the Lord's, I do not have to play the comparison game. Because I am the Lord's, I can rejoice with those who are rejoicing, even if they are other writers who are more successful than I am. Together, we can glorify God and give thanks for his goodness!
I can't help but think that Satan smiles when we indulge in the sin of jealousy. How our enemy must recoil, then, when we turn from self-interested comparison to celebrating God's goodness to others! Is there someone in your life who, when you think of them, you feel jealous? Repent, and thank God not only for the blessings He has given you, but for the blessings He has given others, too.
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"Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, 'The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.'...May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." - Romans 15:2-3, 5-6