Love is longsuffering, love is kind, love is not jealous … 1 Corinthians 13:4

Jealousy is wanting what another person has. It is not just being resentful or angry of another’s good fortune or achievements, but a strong desire to possess them. Unlike zeal, which is an enthusiastic devotion to a cause or goal making someone eager and determined to do something, jealousy takes this type of attitude and uses it in a way that damages others to get what they have. So one who is jealous will be zealous to obtain what another person has.

Jealousy will produce actions that are harmful to others.

“And the patriarchs, becoming jealous, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him – Acts 7:9

We also see an example of jealousy in Galatia where men came down from Jerusalem who sought to make Paul look bad to the saints there as though he was their enemy so they could exclude the saints to themselves. This is a very common tactic of false teachers and those seeking to usurp a position of authority even today.

They jealously court you, but for no good; yes, they want to exclude you, that you may be zealous for them. – Galatians 4:17

Because of jealousy for their father’s love, the brothers of Joseph sold him into slavery. Because of jealousy for the saints, false teachers came into Galatia teaching that they had to keep the law to be saved, not for the sake of those they sought to persuade but so these false teachers could look good before others and get them to only follow them. Jealousy always leads to hurting others. The Jews were very jealous of Paul when he would teach the truth of the gospel of the Christ because of all the people who accepted the message and followed him. They wanted those people to follow them, so they caused harm to Paul.

Jealousy does not belong among the saints. Rather than seeking what someone else has, if we don’t like where we are at or what we have, then change it by learning and growing, and working towards a goal, not by trying to take what someone else has. Jealousy always leads to calamity. It never produces what is sought by it.

I encountered a man many years ago that was a bible scholar, knew Scripture very well and even taught at a seminary. However, because he was jealous of the pastor of the church that ran the seminary and wanted to be a head pastor again, along with desiring to be the president, he attempted to usurp the pastor’s position by stating false and unsubstantiated claims against him before the church. Although he did not end up becoming the head pastor of the assembly or the leader of the seminary, as he sought, he did cause a lot of harm to many Christians around him and was able to persuade a few to even follow him, where others, through his actions, were scattered to live a life of sin. So much destruction to the saints because of jealousy. Of course, this individual claimed to be doing this out of love, but true love will not harm others because that is in direct contrast to how love seeks the best for the one loved. Unfortunately, due to the saints who followed him not really understanding what love is, they continue to be negatively impacted by this man who has usurped a pastoral position. This is neither beneficial for these saints or this man.

There are those who come with the intent to exclude us for themselves. Rather than earning respect and the position they hold within the assembly they will seek to take what others have. They will say that what they do is in love, while intentionally doing harm to others, typically behind their backs and in closed door meetings, so they can get the position for themselves. They may remain docile until the right time comes to strike. This is the type of person that will seek to remove someone from a position of authority so they can have it, based upon a false or unsubstantiated claim; rather than demanding that Scripture is followed and accusations are brought up properly and if found guilty seeking to restore the saint who has fallen. We need to compare the actions of others with what Scripture says and determine what is good and of value within them. What is this person gaining from bringing an accusation against a pastor without proper evidence? or any other saint for that matter in a position of authority. Understanding what true love is, in action, not words, is important for us. Many will come saying they do things in love, but their actions are contrary to what God’s quality of love is. But let us not fall into a trap and reciprocate in an unloving manner.

We should be zealous for good, doing what is proper (Galatians 4:18), which will not cause damage to others, but let us never be jealous towards each other. Be content with what God has given you and happy for what He has given others. And always remember, our jealousy will never bring us what we want, it will only harm others so we can consume what they have in the desires of our flesh. Since jealousy is a work of the flesh, when this desire comes upon us we need to take the way of escape (Know [Romans 6:6] – Reckon [Romans 6:11] – Yield [Romans 6:13]) and get our minds focused back on what God wants (Colossians 3:1-2) so that we are truly loving Him by loving the brethren and not allowing a false quality of love to mask our jealousy.