Five ways to beat jealousy
If you wish your life was more like someone else's, it's time to wise up, stop comparing, and turn outward.
They’re everywhere. From movie stars on magazine covers to that classmate who always seems to be better than you, people with “the good life” are not hard to find. They can appear to have such an easy, fun, or better life than your own, and it’s easy to find yourself thinking: if only I could have their life…
What are you supposed to do?
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 earthy, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (James 3:14-16).
Being jealous of anything or anyone and being willing to do anything to get what you want (selfish ambition) is not wise, period. In fact, it will lead to disorder; your relationships with people and with God will be negatively affected, for starters. Further, you could be led to “vile” – extremely unpleasant – behavior. You’ve got to wise up to this truth: anything that leads you to forsake God’s wisdom is not good for you. These “earthly, unspiritual, and demonic” thoughts will lead you to sin.
…and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though He is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ (Acts 17:26b-28).
It’s time to stop comparing yourself to others, and look to God His purpose for the unique life He gave you. He – the Creator – created you to be exactly the person you are and no one else. He put you in this century, in your city or town on purpose so that you will seek Him – the one who ultimately gives “the good life.” He knows your desires, your hopes, and your dreams and He is the reason you’re alive. You can trust that He did not make a mistake in making you, but wants to give you the best life possible, life to the full: “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10)
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10 ESV).
God has prepared in advance certain ‘good works’ or tasks for you to complete. Because you are His workmanship, He has uniquely equipped you to do these good works. The personality and talents you have are part of His unique design so that you can go and do good. Your unique giftings are different than others, but that doesn’t mean any one person is more valuable than another. We all have works to do, and each of us can be excited about God’s unique plan for us individually instead of desiring someone else’s life. I can’t tell you exactly the works that God has planned for, but look out for opportunities! Each day gives new moments where we can make an impact for Christ through our words and actions.
Want the life you’ve been given
Next time you are caught wanting someone else’s life, remember those truths, and try these tips:
- Pray: Acknowledge your feelings to God and pray that you would have the strength to stand against the temptation to compare yourself and seek your own selfish goals. Additionally, pray that the person you are jealous of would have even more happiness added to their “good life”
- Get radical: Intentionally see if you can be kind to, help out, or encourage the person you feel already has so much good in their life!
- Count them: Instead of moaning about your life, try thankfulness. Purposefully look for good things in your life, and “count your blessings” – thanking God for the good He’s given you.
- Just ask: Ask God to open your eyes to the “good works” He has for you and be an intentional good-doer in the situations you’re in.
- Turn to Him: Instead focusing on other people’s lives or on your own, turn your thoughts back to the giver of life. Sing praise, thank Him, or just talk to Him. Life is all about Him, anyway!