Summary: A sermon dealing with the danger of succumbing to a spirit of jealousy

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Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?” And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David...In everything [Da-vid] did he had great success, because the Lord was with him.--I Samuel 18:8, 9, 14


To be jealous of someone is to be intolerant and hostile toward a person who is perceived to be a threat or a rival to one’s position or authority. A jealous spirit stems from feelings of over-possessiveness and holding too high an opinion of oneself. The jealous person feels like no one else can—or should be able to—do what they do; the jealous person feels that no one else has the right to do what they can do. Instead of admiring the capabilities, competence, excellence or talents of another, the jealous person views these qualities as a challenge to who they are.

A jealous spirit reveals a flaw in one’s character. It’s an admission of one’s feelings of inadequacy; it’s a way of defending ourselves against the reality that someone may be better at something than we are. When we behave jealously toward another’s accomplishments, we’re actually showing our inability to deal with the truth. No one likes to think of himself as not measuring up to another. But a reality of life is that there will always be someone who is better at something than we are. But rather than accept that reality, the one who is controlled by a spirit of jealousy will feed his feelings of inadequacy through displays of anger and resentment toward what another has achieved.

Then a third thing about jealousy is that jealousy is often the result of our frustration at wasted opportunities. People who have wasted their opportunities often can’t accept the fact that another won’t make the same mistake, and the jealous person will do all that he can to deny the other fellow an opportunity to succeed where he has failed. It’s that kind of attitude that gives birth to stumbling blocks. You may have tried something; you may have tried to do something positive; you may have labored long and hard to bring something to fruition. And for whatever reason, you didn’t achieve your goal. Perhaps it had to do with your job; maybe you set certain career goals for yourself, but you wasted your opportunities and fell short of your goal. And now, you’ve made up your mind that, if you can’t succeed then no one will succeed, and you’re doing all that you can to mess up the program. Maybe it had something to do with your personal life; maybe you came from a negative family situation; perhaps you weren’t given the same opportunity to achieve that others had because you looked a certain way or because you came from a certain part of town or because your hair was of a different texture from somebody else. And it’s bad that that kind of thing happens to anybody. But now, you’re so filled with bitterness and frustration that every chance you get, you try to hold someone else back and keep them down the way others kept you down. And you don’t see any harm in what you’re doing because your frustration and disappointment has so warped your perspective that, in your mind, wrong is right and evil is good.

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