Recently I flew out to a church in Kansas in order to teach the congregation and hold a youth conference. It was a great time of connecting and meeting other people, plus some exciting ministry! Surprisingly, during the Youth Q&A times a few questions came up that I did not anticipate. You see, the conference was about the Love of God and the Q&A times were constructed in a way to have open talks of sex, purity, and similar topics. But, I ended up getting two or three questions about jealousy: do guys get jealous? How can I avoid getting jealous? Is jealousy a bad thing? I’m very glad they asked me these questions but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t caught off guard with those questions. I made the mistake of assuming the younger generation did not care about something like jealousy. I’m glad I was wrong. For anyone who struggles with jealousy (much of us) this article is a good starting point for you. Here are the top 7 Bible verses to help overcome jealousy.
James 3:14-15 “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.” NIV
Many times in the Bible, envy and jealousy are translated the same way. Here envy (jealousy) is contrasted with good characteristics.
Genesis 4:8 “Now Cain talked with Abel his brother;[a] and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.” NKJV
Jealousy was one of the things that led to Cain killing Abel in the beginning parts of Genesis. It’s significant that the first murder in history was, at the very least, partially due to jealousy.
Proverbs 6:34 “For jealousy is a husband’s fury; Therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.” NKJV
Many times jealousy arises because of a particular relationship, usually regarding a married or dating couple. Isn’t this the sub-plot to so many movies and television shows?
Psalm 37:1-3 “Do not fret because of evildoers, Nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, And wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; Dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness.” NKJV
There is no reason for a Christian to be jealous of any non-believer who seemingly has it all. At the end of the day, God will judge them.
James 4:1-2 “Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? 2 You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet[a] you do not have because you do not ask.” NKJV
What a profound statement! Covetousness, very closely related to jealousy, is definitely one of the reasons for so many problems in the world.
Proverbs 14:30 “A sound heart is life to the body, But envy is rottenness to the bones.” NKJV
When jealousy has its way with a person, it tends to really rot the person from the inside out.
Exodus 20:2-6 ““I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; 5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” NKJV
I’m sure you recognize this passage as part of the commandments section. Interestingly, God proclaims that He is a jealous God—which leads us to believe that jealousy cannot always be bad. He is jealous for His people and wants them exclusively for Himself, much like a husband who will want to guard his wife from any other man’s heart and affections.
Jealousy can be a very dangerous force to reckon with. However, we need to understand that some jealousy is actually right and appropriate to have. It is okay for me to be jealous for my wife’s time, energy, and affections (not in a crazy, obsessive way that gets crazy if she so much as talks to a man—but hopefully you understand that!). Nonetheless, there are numerous ways jealousy can creep into our lives and cause mayhem. If we want to overcome jealousy, these verses should help give perspective on what it is and point it out in our own lives.