Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

What to Do When Jealousy Strikes

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

Jealous. That was the only word that could describe the feeling I had when I heard a friend had gotten her book published. I was full of jealousy. 

Writing a book (and getting it published) has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager. Yet now at age 53, it still has not happened. Not for lack of trying, mind you. But it just has not happened! So, when I found out it had happened for a friend, that proverbial “green-eyed monster” consumed me.

And here’s the saddest thing of all: my friend’s book was about her journey with her young son’s cancer. It was about how God had seen, supported, and strengthened her, her son, and her family through the darkest hours of their lives.

It was a book written with such gut-wrenching honesty and humility. And, it was meant to be an encouragement and blessing to other families dealing with childhood cancer. 

How could I be jealous ofthat? But I was—to my shame!  

What Jealousy Is 

Jealousy is that sneaky sinthat comes upon us unexpectedly, unannounced, and most certainlyuninvited.  

Jealousy can take the form of eagerness to obtain something that you don’t have, and this form of it is associated with covetousness and idolatry (see Colossians 3:5).

Covetousness is the worship of something (a house, a car, a job, a ministry) or someone (a husband, a child, a friend) that another has. Covetousness is so egregious to God, that he included it in the Ten Commandments. 

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17) 

AndGod knows that when we idolize what another has, eventually jealous feelingswill follow. What are we to do with jealousy, then? 

Be Repentant 

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality… idolatry… jealousy… and things these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness… (Galatians 5:19-22)

For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? (1 Corinthians 3:3) 

Jealousy is sin. It is the flesh’sresponse to covetousness, and it needs to be confessed andrepented. Repenting jealousy is to agree with God that this feeling iswrong. It is not holy, healthy, or productive. 

Jealousy can be so destructive—both spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. In fact, it can literally lead one to murder, the apostle James says in 4:2: “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel.”

Themoment jealousy rears its nasty head, confess it. Don’t let it steep in yourmind and embitter your heart. Confess, and find immediate and unfailingforgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9). 

Be Counteractive 

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

There is a reason why Paul contrasts the flesh and the Spirit in Galatians chapter 5. The two are constantly at war with one another. But that war was won when Jesus died and rose again, and we can also be victors through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

We can, through His help, conquer and counteract the sinful flesh with spiritual fruit. 

Love for another and forthe goodness God has shown them (whatever that may be), having patience withourselves and God’s timing, and exercising self-control of our emotions allcounteract jealousy. 

Be Content 

A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (Proverbs 14:30) 

Jealousy is not only covetousness but discontentment. Jealousy says, in effect, “God, I’m not happy or satisfied with who I am or what you’ve given me. I want to be more. I want more. I want what so-and-so is and has!”

I have had to come to the realization that God has not allowed me to publish, for whatever reason. I have had to accept that and find contentment in the writing opportunities he has given me.  

I have to work at it, though. It does not come easily. I can relate to Paul’s comment in Philippians 4:11-13, that I, too, am “learning” to be content. It is an on-going process as I wait upon God and “learn” to be satisfied, content, with what he has given me already.  

Jealousy is, in a way, saying that Jesus—who he is as ourSavior and Lord, and what he graciously did for us on the cross—is not enough.None of us would say that outright. But jealousy is the feeling that expressesit, and it is an affront to him. May it not be so! 

Be Joyful 

Rejoice with those who are rejoicing. (Romans 12:15) 

Another counteractive “cure” for jealousy, as I found with my friend’s publishing success, is to rejoice with that person.

Rejoicing with another person takes the focus off of ourselves and puts it on God: what he has done for that person, how he has blessed them, the gifts he’s given them, the opportunities he’s provided for them. 

Rejoicing with another is also borne love and kindness. Another manifestation of living out the fruits of the Spirit rather than the flesh.

Rejoicing in another’s good and godly fortune also maintains unity and harmony within the body of Christ. For where there is jealousy, there is strife, quarreling, disunity (1 Corinthians 3:3). 

So, make the choice torejoice. 

Be Jealous…for others andfor God! 

I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. (2 Cor. 11:2, NIV) 

If ever there is good jealousy, the Apostle Paul says it is jealousy for other believers and for God. 

This “godly jealousy”is outward and upward focused, rather than self-focused. It is an eagerness for thegood of others, especially spiritual welfare (i.e. theirsalvation and sanctification). 

It is an eagerness for God to be glorified in this darkened world. That his name and power would be seen and manifested in miraculous ways. That sinful mankind would repent and turn to him, accepting the free gift of grace he offers through Jesus Christ. That they would find forgiveness and a relationship with God, their Heavenly, Holy Father (Ephesians 2:8-9).  

Expressing holy, godly jealousy for his saving work on our behalf, and on the behalf of others, is acceptable and perfect. That jealousy does not offend him. 

May it be that this outward, upward jealousy is the only type of jealousy we manifest in our lives. 

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Godly Sorrow

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

The Bible tells us it is important that we understand the right kind of sorrow, which leads to heartfelt repentance and change.

Most of us would say, “I’m sorry,” to a person we accidentally bumped into at the store. Most of us would show sorrow when we hear that a close friend has lost a loved one, and we would really feel for that person. In both cases, being sorry can truly be from the heart. But, even so, is this the kind of sorrow God is looking for when it comes to repentance?

King Solomon wrote, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13). A cheerful countenance is simply an outward expression of being happy. It’s a reaction to an inward physical emotion.

But Solomon also notes that the spirit can be broken by the sorrow of the heart. The heart of a man describes the mind and the thinking of a person. What is meant by the spirit being broken?

Does God require a broken spirit?

King David wrote, “The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

There is a time to be broken down; a time that we should come to God in a proper sorrow. The Hebrew word translated “contrite” can mean “crushed” (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible #1793). God is near those whose selfish, prideful mind has been broken down, and He saves those whose spirit is crushed.

David, who was considered a man after God’s heart, also tells us: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—these, O God, You will not despise” (Psalm 51:17, emphasis added throughout). Owen’s Analytical Key to the Old Testament translates the Hebrew words in this passage as, “The sacrifice acceptable to God, a spirit of brokenness, a broken heart, and contrite, God thou wilt not despise.”

How does a “broken heart” relate to repentance?

Although Psalm 51 does not include the words repent or repentance, David expresses what it means to have a broken spirit—showing his profound regret and intense desire to be forgiven and made clean.

“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.

Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight—that You may be found just when You speak, and blameless when You judge” (verses 1-4).

Motivated by his regret, David recognized, confessed and acknowledged his sins. In another of his psalms, he wrote: “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:5).

What are the qualities of godly sorrow?

The apostle Paul was comforted by the repentant attitude of the members of the congregation in Corinth after he had reprimanded them. We see here another dimension of godly sorrow—the intense desire and commitment to change.

“For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing.

“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (2 Corinthians 7:8-11).

Paul’s description here is pretty clear. Godly sorrow will produce something in us that will change us and motivate us to be sorrowful enough to repent.

Look at the words that Paul used to describe godly sorrow:

  • Diligence.
  • Clearing of yourselves.
  • Indignation (anger at what we have done).
  • Fear.
  • Vehement desire.
  • Zeal.
  • Vindication.

He stated, “In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” This isn’t just a temporary sadness because of a condition one is in, but is true repentance leading to change.

It’s important to note that while regret is an aspect of true repentance, the emotion of sorrow in and of itself is not repentance. Godly sorrow leads to a change in our thinking, our actions and our lives. It puts us in the right attitude so we can repent.

It’s important to note that while regret is an aspect of true repentance, the emotion of sorrow in and of itself is not repentance. Godly sorrow leads to a change in our thinking, our actions and our lives. It puts us in the right attitude so we can repent.

Worldly sorrow is concerned more with the punishment or consequences. Godly sorrow is concerned more with the willingness to change.

Clarke’s Bible Commentary states this about godly sorrow: “It was not a sorrow because ye were found out, and thus solemnly reprehended, but a sorrow because ye had sinned against God, and which consideration caused you to grieve more than the apprehension of any punishment” (comment on 2 Corinthians 7:9).

If a child is doing something wrong and a parent corrects him, the child may experience regret because of hurt feelings or because he could not do what he wanted to do. It’s not until we have the right kind of sorrow that we can begin to see that what we are doing is truly wrong.

Having a right kind of sorrow will lead a person to a changed heart. God can then grant that person repentance.

Why does worldly sorrow produce death?

When a person has sinned and is suffering the consequences of his decisions, he may experience a natural, worldly sorrow. For instance, if a person drinks too much alcohol and is arrested for driving under the influence, and then wakes up in jail, he may be distressed or embarrassed.

He may wish he wasn’t dealing with the discomfort of a hangover or be troubled that he endangered the lives of others. But then he may turn around and do the same thing again the next weekend. Once he is jail, no longer experiencing physical discomfort, he may give little thought to what he did.

This kind of regret is temporary—it doesn’t lead to a change in thinking or behavior!

In a spiritual sense, if a person does not repent of sin, then he is still living in sin, and the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The penalty of sin—death—is still over him; and his worldly, temporary sorrow will not lead him to lasting change.

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Godly sorrow will lead to a new heart

God warned Israel in Ezekiel 18:30-31: “‘Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,’ says the Lord GOD.

‘Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin.

Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel?’”

God wanted a “new heart” in the people of Israel. He wanted to see them change and follow Him. He desires the same for you and me today.

However, humanity is not prone to have godly sorrow. Jesus said, “What comes a man, that defiles a man. For from within, the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:20-23).

These are the natural tendencies of man. In other places in Scripture they are called “the works of the flesh” (Galatians 5:19-21). But when a person experiences godly sorrow, leading him to repentance and change, then God can give His Holy Spirit to the person. This creates a new heart that can begin to produce the fruit of God’s Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

Godly sorrow, as Paul described it, will lead us to repentance, which is the first step in answering the calling of God, and it will direct us to the path of conversion. (For more about this vitally important process, download your free copy of the booklet Change Your Life!)

The result of godly sorrow is a changed heart, and it will lead us to a new life—and eventually eternal life. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10).

For related material that can help you in this essential process, see the other articles in this section on “Repentance.”

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Bible Verses About Jealousy: 20 Important Quotes

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

The battle that rages inside all of us is that even when our intentions are good, we still have a sin nature and often yield to sin.  One of those sins is jealousy, which is closely related to one of the “seven deadly sins” called envy or covetous.

  There are a number of verses that deal with this topic because when we fall into jealousy or envy, we will often spiral down very quickly in our spiritual life.  It is easy to fall into jealousy in our materialistic society.  The mantra of culture seems to be to keep up with the Jones’.  Grab all that you can.

  Put yourself first in all things.  Consider what Scripture says about jealousy and envy…

Bible Verses Where Jealousy is Contrasted with Good Characteristics

Song of Solomon 8:6 Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy is fierce as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, the very flame of the LORD.

1Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

James 3:14-15 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

Scriptures Where Jealousy Leads to Destruction

Genesis 4:8  Cain spoke to Abel his brother. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.

Psalm 37:1-3 Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!  For they will soon fade the grass and wither the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.

Proverbs 6:34 For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.

James 3:16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

James 4:1-2  What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

Proverbs 14:30  A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

Bible Quotes that Show That God is a Jealous God

Exodus 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me

Exodus 34:14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God)

Deuteronomy 4:24 For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

Psalm 79:5  How long, O LORD? Will you be angry forever? Will your jealousy burn fire?

Verses About Jealousy and Sin

Exodus 20:17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Proverbs 27:4   Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?

Acts 7:9 “And the patriarchs, jealous of Joseph, sold him into Egypt; but God was with him

1Corinthians 3:3-5 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful

Ephesians 5:3 But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.

4 Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.

5 For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Romans 13:13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

There are many more examples that I could point to in Scripture.  If we are honest with ourselves, we all get envious or jealous at times.  Sometimes it may be subtle in our own minds as we wish things were different.  Maybe we question God about some of the circumstances in our life.

  God can handle any question that we may have but we need to ask if we are honestly seeking an answer to a struggle in our life or questioning the ways and will of God.  That is a fine line.  Thankfully, we serve and love a great God.  He is the God of the Old Testament and the New Testament.

  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He loves us so much in spite of our sins.  My prayer today is that we all would evaluate our own life and if convicted by the Holy Spirit about the sin of jealousy, that we would ask forgiveness and repent of our sin.

  God wants to give us freedom over our sin that comes through the shed blood of Jesus.  Praise Him!

Take a look at these other similar type articles:


The Holy Bible, English Standard Version

“Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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