The anatomy of jealousy and envy ~ Luke 17:27-31
27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’”
28 “But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.
29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never 1neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends;
30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’”
31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.’”
First off I want to emphasis this thought seen in verse 31 in the phrase all that is mine is yours. Where we are able to rest in our heart and soul, knowing our place in our Heavenly Father is secure, we are well able to resist thoughts and feelings that come to tempt us to jealousy and envy. Jealousy and envy are only and always displaced by love.
Jealousy is defined, which I found very interesting, as thoughts or feelings of insecurity, fear, and concern over a relative lack of possession. It can either be suspicious or reactive. These feelings emote anger, resentment, inadequacy, helplessness, disgust. I think we can all say we’ve tased these.
Envy is defined as a painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another joined with a desire to possess the same advantage, or for the other to lack it.
I found the association of fear and insecurity within the definition of jealousy so interesting and envy just doesn’t want another to be blessed. We are well aware of the biblical instructions not to allow jealousy and envy to work in us, but personal insecurity gives access to these spiritual forces.
Change can bring an unsettling to our sense of security, even in those times and areas we are confident in our obedience to the Father’s instruction. Many of us find ourselves in a place of seasonal transition, but may I remind us all; God takes us from faith to faith, strength to strength and glory to glory. We are ever increasing in the Kingdom of God, or at least we certainly have the potential to do so. We can all sit down and feed on the tasty feelings of jealousy and envy and pity ourselves or we can stay rooted and grounded in the love of God and celebrate with the Father everyone’s every obedient act of service displayed.
John the Baptist knew his time and season; Jesus must increase, he must decrease, but at the moment of his imprisonment he is stumbling over his own perceived expectations. From there, John sent and asked, “Are you the one or do we look for another?”
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “What do you have that you have not received?” Who are you but a vessel God uses to do His will and purpose? We are simply a part of a bigger picture and we must honor the individual parts that God honors. If I do not value and honor the part, I cannot receive what God is saying and doing through that vessel. So I’m not just rejecting the part (the member of His body) I am in fact rejecting Him.
Jealous and Envy shut the door on our receptivity. They are wiles and strategies the enemy uses to bring division, first in our hearts in our relationship with the Father and then with the members of His body. Note in our verses today, how the son was offended with his Father and then refused to celebrate in the blessing of his brother. Who really suffered in all this?
Another’s blessing, exaltation, favour or honour, should show us the goodness of God and His love for us all. What he does for one displays His character and nature and should encourage our hearts and strengthen the awareness in us, “All that is mine is yours”.