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Tuesday, May 31, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
Acts 7: 1-14

And the patriachs, becoming ENVIOUS, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him” Acts 7:9

One highly desirable inner disposition of the Believer in Christ is an ENVY-FREE HEART: “And the patriachs, becoming ENVIOUS, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him” (Acts 7:9). Joseph’s brothers were envious – resentful of their father’s affection for him, so they sold him into slavery, but the Jealous God defended, delivered and promoted him (Gen.37:18-20; 45:5-8). Envy is a listed sin (Rom.1:29). The chief priests and elders were so envious of Jesus’ ministry they handed Him over to Pilate for crucifixion (Mt.27:18; Mk.15:10). However, Envy and Jealousy are close synonyms. Interestingly, God calls Himself a Jealous God (Exo.20: 5-6; 34:14). Here, God contrasted His passionate love and zeal for His people to their drift into idolatry – an indication of their hate.

The pertinent question is: “If jealousy is a sin, why does God say He is a jealous God?” The Hebrew word translated “jealous” in the Ten Commandments is only used to describe God. It infers zeal, passion, enthusiasm, and fervour. God is without sin; hence His jealousy in response to idolatry is righteous and holy. He is jealous when we give to another, something that rightly belongs to Him. He is jealous for His relationship with His people because He passionately loves us and does not want us to be destroyed by idolatry. There is a difference between holy jealousy and sinful human jealousy, which is the sin of ENVY (Gal.5:20-21).

Holy jealousy means that one is rightly possessive of something that belongs to him or her. For example, a Christian wife is legitimately unwilling to share her husband’s heart or body with any other woman. Though it’s okay for him to share his talents, resources, and energies with the other Believers and society at large, his heart and body should be exclusively hers. That is a holy, covenant-based, and entirely appropriate kind of jealousy. God shows holy jealousy because our love and adoration rightfully belong to Him and must not be mingled with idolatry (Dt.4:23-24; 6: 14-15). God’s Jealousy is healthy because we belong to Him wholly.  

We are jealous of our own; we are envious of another’s. Jealousy fears to lose what it has; envy is pained at seeing another have. A husband who sees another man flirting with his wife is right to be jealous, for only he has the right to do so! Being jealous for what God declares to belong to us is appropriate; but the desire for what does not belong to us is a sin. Worship, praise, honour, and adoration belong to God alone; for only He is truly worthy of these. Therefore, God is rightly jealous we offer these to idols. Paul had such “a godly jealousy” for the hearts of new believers (2Cor.11:2). He didn’t want them to be led away from the Gospel of Christ.

Sinful jealousy or ENVY is the desire to have what doesn’t belong to us such as other people’s ability, beauty, fame, wealth, position, skill, talent, or spouse. Envy, like most enemies to our heart, stems from our not getting what we want or not having what someone else has. An envious or jealous person could want all the attention of their loved one to be directed to themselves, and can fly into a rage because of the craving to have a level of exclusivity that doesn’t belong to them! Envy is displeased at another’s good; it breeds a strange feeling of satisfaction when another has a setback or loss. The envious heart wrongly claims, “God owes me”!

The key to uprooting Envy is to focus on God to meet our needs and wants, rather than coveting what others have. The latter fans the flame of envy. The habit of celebrating what others have that we would like and being thankful to God for what He has already given us will keep envy from disrupting the rhythm of our heart. It’s liberating to celebrate the success of others. We’ve been given God’s Best in His Son, Jesus Christ. We owe God everything, including an apology; for holding Him to a debt He doesn’t owe!

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, grant us the inner disposition of an ENVY-FREE HEART that focuses on You and celebrates the success of others, in Jesus name.
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