Bitter Water

James 3:2
But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your
heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying (v.14).

The first time I met her, something in our interaction
truly bothered me. A day later, I was praying to
God and searching my heart to see why I felt so
unsettled around my new acquaintance. After all, it had
been a pretty typical social gathering, and I usually
enjoy getting to know people. Still sorting it out today,
I’ve asked the Holy Spirit to show me whether I was truly
sensing something negative and real or if I was simply
caught up in the comparison game once again.

When it comes to dealing with jealousy, we
sometimes try to bury our feelings or “pretty them up”
with some spiritual-sounding words. But when we truly
touch base with the truth, jealousy is just plain ugly.
James even goes so far as to say, “Jealousy and
selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things
are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. . . . There you
will find disorder and evil of every kind” (3:15-16). Did
you notice it says jealousy is demonic? Although this
word may appear strong, when it comes to the trap of
comparing ourselves to others, we know that this practice
originated with the father of lies.

Have you experienced a selfish desire for something
belonging to another person? Have you felt that strong
emotional response as you’ve been sizing up others?
Whether we diminish ourselves or someone else because
we fail to measure up, the result is destructive (vv.9-10).

Pushing our feelings down inside doesn’t make the green-eyed monster go
away. When our words—spoken or not—begin to show a change from fresh
to bitter water (vv.11-12), we need to reveal the darkness in our hearts to God
and experience the healing power of His Word. Only He can help us overcome

—Regina Franklin

Read 1 Corinthians 3:1 to see how jealousy can affect our spiritual growth
and our relationships within the church.

What are some signs that you’re feeling jealous? How can God and His
Word help you deal with the jealousy you’ve been experiencing?