Dictionary.com defines jealous as:
I don't remember what what I was thinking about or what was going on at the particular time when the Lord spoke this to me, but it sure did help me and it continues to help me. I do believe I was driving my car though but that's just about all I remember about it. What I do know is that when He speaks, it's to me first, which means, I needed to hear it.
He said to me, "There is one reason that people are jealous. It's because they don't realize how great they are. If a person really knows who they are they don't have room to or even think about being jealous of someone else because they are fully aware of the greatness that is inside of them".
I've already shared with you the dictionary definition of jealous. Now I will share an even better definition that I heard from someone on Christian television years ago. I have no idea who he was but I'll never forget what he said. He said, "To be jealous of someone is to feel or believe that that person has an unfair advantage over you."
What the Lord said to me about jealousy and what this man said about what it means are more powerful to me than the dictionary definition. Both statements get right to the core, the heart of the matter. When I thought about the times that I have felt jealousy toward someone else, (and yes I admit it. Why else would the Lord speak that to me?) at the core of that feeling was that they were greater than I was in some way. I felt somehow that they had something good to offer that was way better than anything I could have to offer. In essence, in the moments that I felt jealousy, I felt like the other person was better than I was or that I was less than. I had feelings of inadequacy and non-importance. I didn't feel that there was something wonderful inside of me that people were waiting to partake of.
The Lord wanted me to understand that He has created all of us with some greatness and much potential. We just have to be aware of that greatness and begin to cultivate it, and allow Him to teach us how to walk in it. When we spend all our time looking at all the wonderful things that others are accomplishing instead of tilling our own grounds of greatness, it's easy to feel that we have nothing of significance within ourselves. The Lord wants each of us to allow Him to show us the gifts that He has placed inside of us that are as meaningful as any other gift in any other person.
Have you ever heard someone say something like, "Everybody ain't able!" Or in the case of say, a single woman who is jealous of the fact that a man chooses another woman instead of her, she may say something like, "Well, I guess if I had her body or her hair" or whatever, "I could have men coming after me too!" Or, they may say something about her family or upbringing that they may feel was better than their own. Whatever she may mention about that woman is really her speaking what she feels is that woman's unfair advantage over her. When a man does it it's the same thing. He may point out another man's car or other possessions, or even his body build or upbringing. It just simply points back to that area of your own life where you feel like if it had been better, you'd be better, or more desirable.
God didn't create us so that the value we place on ourselves would be based on what we have, how we look physically, or even our education or any kind of status. When we were born we all came into the world naked, owning nothing. But we all came into this world already equipped with the potential to live out our wildest dreams and more, for did He not say in His word that He is able to do "exceeding, abundantly, above all that we ask or think"? (Ephesians 3:20) So our value and self-worth should be based on what He has said about us and not what we may or may not have compared to someone else. What we all have is the potential to live our lives to the fullest.
This is not to say that we are all called to live on the same level, doing the same things, or that if I live up to my full potential I will end up exactly where someone else is. But it is to say that as each of us discovers what it is inside of us as individuals that makes us wonderful and great in God that we will each become so fulfilled living our own lives that we won't have room to think that someone else has an unfair advantage over us. Think about it. If someone has an unfair advantage over you, who gave it to them? You are really saying that God did when He created them. You need to know that that's simply not true.
Allow me to be even a little more transparent and say that since the Lord first spoke that to me, I have still have feelings of jealousy at times. But I am also constantly reminded that all that means is that there is some untapped greatness inside of myself that I have not discovered or begun to walk in. I can think of my gifts in that very moment that I haven't operated in on a level that is even pleasing to myself. So if I can see room for improvement in myself, I know that it's nothing compared to what God sees.
Do you find yourself feeling jealous of people at times? Let it be a sign to you that there is some treasure inside of you that is yet to be discovered. The only difference between what you see in the other person who seems to have an advantage and yourself, could really be how they feel about themselves, no matter what you see outwardly. For what if he or she is clearly not as physically attractive as you are? What then is their advantage? Probably not what you might think. It probably just simply boils down to the fact that they have done what you need to do: accepted themselves completely. Accepted God's love for them. Believed in the wonder that God created when He created them and allowed their confidence to rest in that.
Allow your self-esteem to come from the truth of the Word of God, and your daily walk with Him. Allow Him to build you up from the inside out with His love and care for you, His tender heart toward you, and His protection. As you do this you will find that old green-eyed monster will rear his or her ugly head less and less.