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Lesson 10: Jealousy *

Introduction: Do you dwell on the fact that beautiful young women will get old? Handsome men will lose their hair and gain a stomach? Gravity overtakes all? The rich should be taxed more? Welcome to the world of the envious and jealous! Some envy may have good economic results - you work diligently to buy things. The problem is that keeping up financially with those around you is a moving target. With each new level of society you rise to, you find people who are richer and have even more stuff. The work to keep up never ends! What is the solution? Let's plunge into our study to see what the Bible teaches us about jealousy and how to deal with it!

  1. Beginnings

    1. Read Isaiah 14:12. What tragedy do we see here? (Someone who was at the top in heaven has been "cast down" to the earth.)

    2. Read Isaiah 14:13-14. What is the cause for this tragedy? (An attitude: "I will make myself like the Most High.")

    3. Read Genesis 3:1-5. What is the temptation presented to Eve? (She would be "like God.")

    4. The verses from Isaiah are commonly understood to refer to Satan. The serpent in Genesis 3 is Satan. What kind of temptation, what kind of attitude, is common to both stories? (Envy. Jealousy.)

      1. What should we conclude about the sin of jealousy? The sin of envy? (This is the sin which began all our misery.)

      2. Are we looking at more than the sin of jealousy and envy in these sad stories?

    5. Read Exodus 20:17. Consider the Ten Commandments for a moment. Could the Ten Commandments been shortened and still cover the same issues?

      1. Would obedience to the commandment against coveting eliminate the need to specify the commandments against theft and adultery?

      2. What relationship is there between coveting, selfishness, jealousy and envy? (They are part of a cluster of related sins. Jealousy and envy arise out of covetousness, pride and selfishness.)

    6. Let's revisit Eve's situation. How would you rate her life before sin? (Perfect.)

      1. What does this teach us about jealousy, envy and covetousness? (They are not only sin, they are irrational. People in the most wonderful circumstances can be jealous.)

  2. Disordered Life

    1. Read James 3:14-16. Is there a difference between ambition and selfish ambition? (Read Proverbs 13:4 and 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12.)

      1. Looking back at James 3:14-16, how is "disorder" the result of envy? (You want to take what is not yours.)

      2. What do you think it means to "boast" about selfish ambition?

      3. What does it mean to "deny the truth" when it comes to envy?

        1. Are either of these things (boasting or denial when it comes to envy) a problem in your life?

    2. Read James 3:17. What characterizes those who are not jealous? (They have peace and they show mercy.)

    3. Read James 4:1-3. Ask yourself the question that James asks. Is your answer the same as he suggests?

      1. What can we say about the results of jealousy and envy? (That if we engage in this sin, we have no peace.)

      2. Read Proverbs 14:30. How does this lack of peace impact our health? (Envy makes us sick.)

    4. Read James 4:4-5. Why is James calling us "adulterous people?" (We choose the world over God.)

      1. How is that adultery any more than choosing one spouse instead of another?

      2. Why does verse 5 refer to us envying "intensely?" Has that anything to do with adultery? (We belong to God. Not only is He our Creator, but God died for us as our Redeemer. As the children of God, we have all that we need. Thus, it is simply envy to want the world.)

    5. Read James 4:6. What does pride have to do with jealousy and envy?

    6. Let's apply these ideas to our lives. What makes you jealous or envious? (Something you do not have.)

    7. What makes you worry? (That you will lose something that you have.)

      1. Is the fear of losing your job, your money, your looks, your youth, etc. the sin of jealousy and envy? (We generally covet something because we want people to think better of us. We generally do not want to lose the stuff we have because people will think less well of us.)

        1. Would you have more peace in your life if you did not worry about what others thought of you? (Re-read James 4:6. A proud person would care. A humble person would not. God tells us that He will give us the grace to be humble. There is a strong connection between pride and the sin of jealousy and envy.)

  3. Illustration: Saul and David

    1. Read 1 Samuel 18:2-5. Would David's high rank in the army be cause for envy?

      1. Who should naturally be jealous? (Jonathan, the King's son.)

        1. Anyone else? (Other army officers who now find that David outranks them.)

        2. Was Jonathan jealous? (The recorded evidence is that he was not.)

    2. Read 1 Samuel 18:6-9. Who is jealous of David? (The King!)

      1. Was there any truth to the statement of the people? (Yes! David killed Goliath (1 Samuel 17), not King Saul.)

      2. Saul is the king. Is there any rational reason for him to be jealous of a subordinate? Should the king be envious of a man the king himself promoted? (This is exactly what we saw with Eve and Satan. Individuals with excellent situations became jealous because they coveted more. King Saul is worried that he will lose his position to David. Saul covets the job he already has - no doubt due to his pride.)

    3. Read 1 Samuel 18:10 and 1 Samuel 16:14. How can you have an "evil spirit from God?"

      1. Re-read James 4:5. This also speaks of the "spirit he caused to live in us." How should we understand this? (Needless to say, the Holy Spirit is not inspiring us to do evil. But, God created us with free-will. After sin, our inclination is to do evil ( Genesis 8:21).)

    4. Read 1 Samuel 18:10-11. What does Saul have in mind when he attempts to "pin David to the wall?" (He intends to kill David.)

      1. Is this the natural result of the sin of jealousy and envy? (Yes. At a minimum you want to take away what the other person has. At its worst, you want to take it away and give it to yourself! The rich should not be squeezing the poor so that they become richer. The poor should not try to take away the wealth of the rich. Both constitute the sins of jealousy and envy.)

    5. Let's give King Saul a "make-over." How would King Saul react to David if Saul decided that his life was in God's hands, and he would do whatever God wanted? (Saul would say that my time as King is over, and I will do whatever else God wants. That would take a humble, trusting heart. Pride would be gone.)

    6. Friend, would you like peace in your life? Would you like to get out of the race to be rich, and live a life of contentment? The key is to ask the Holy Spirit to give you the grace to be humble. If you are truly humble, covetousness, envy and jealousy will be left behind. Why not decide today to ask God to improve your attitude and give you peace?

  4. Next week: Freedom From Addictions.
* Copr. 2011, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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