Summary: Jealousy creates destructive behavior. The best people of the day were swept up in a wave of jealous retribution. "But the Jews aroused the devout of the city and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them out of their district."
The Roots Of Jealousy (Acts 13:42-52)
It is the eyes of other people that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither a fine house nor fine furniture.
There is a fable of an eagle which could out fly another, and the other didn’t like it. The latter saw a sportsman one day, and said to him:
"I wish you would bring down that eagle." The sportsman replied that he would if he only had some feathers to put into the arrow. So the eagle pulled one out of his wing. The arrow was shot, but didn’t quite reach the rival eagle; it was flying too high. The envious eagle pulled out more feathers, and kept pulling them out until he lost so many that he couldn’t fly, and then the sportsman turned around and killed him. My friend, if you are jealous, the only man you can hurt is yourself.
Moody’s Anecdotes, pp. 44-45.
Quote:It is the eyes of other people that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want neither a fine house nor fine furniture.
This quote is an example of faulty assumptions that too many of us are guilty of. We all need to find the root causes of jealousy instead of dealing with superficial symptoms.
1. Why do you suppose that many people allow jealousy to hinder their relationships, spiritual growth or ministry? The Jews became infuriated with jealousy toward Paul and Barnabas when they preached that God’s blessings were now available to all Gentiles. Quickly, the Jews whipped up antagonistic opposition against Paul and Barnabas. Dr. Luke wrote, "When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy, and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul and were blaspheming." (Acts 13:45)
Whenever, people become obsessed with jealousy they demonstrate a misperception of the truth. The Jews were careful to guard their own misconceived rights, privileges and status as the only people of God. Resentful suspicion of the Gentiles and their new influence completely enraged the Jewish leaders. Be careful not to fall into any trap of jealousy or you will lose your perspective of the truth and love of God.
Ask the Lord to help you replace any jealous feelings with a trust in the Lord’s ability to do what is best in His own sovereign way.
Two shopkeepers were bitter rivals. Their stores were directly across the street from each other, and they would spend each day keeping track of each other’s business. If one got a customer, he would smile in triumph at his rival. One night an angel appeared to one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, "I will give you anything you ask, but whatever you receive, your competitor will receive twice as much. Would you be rich? You can be very rich, but he will be twice as wealthy. Do you wish to live a long and healthy life? You can, but his life will be longer and healthier. What is your desire?" The man frowned, thought for a moment, and then said, "Here is my request: Strike me blind in one eye!"
One sign of jealousy is when it’s easier to show sympathy and "weep with those who weep" than it is to exhibit joy and "rejoice with those who rejoice."
2. The Jews failed to realize that Christ always requires changes to bring improvement to His church. The Jewish leaders did not recognize that the synagogue was now inadequate to meet the needs of all the people groups of the world. The religious authorities did not want to welcome outsiders into their midst. They had grown comfortable with the status quo.
Ask the Lord to help you overcome any resistance to change for the sake of growth.
Illustration:For many years Sir Walter Scott was the leading literary figure in the British Empire. No one could write as well as he. Then the works of Lord Byron began to appear, and their greatness was immediately evident. Soon an anonymous critic praised his poems in a London Paper. He declared that in the presence of these brilliant works of poetic genius, Scott could no longer be considered the leading poet of England. It was later discovered that the unnamed reviewer had been none other than Sir Walter Scott himself!
There is a distinction between jealousy and envy. To envy is to want something which belongs to another person. "You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, his wife or his servant, his ox or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor." In contrast, jealousy is the fear that something which we possess will be taken away by another person. Although jealousy can apply to our jobs, our possessions, or our reputations, the word more often refers to anxiety which comes when we are afraid that the affections of a loved one might be lost to a rival. We fear that our mates, or perhaps our children, will be lured away by some other person who, when compared to us, seems to be more attractive, capable and successful.