NASB: “Love… is not jealous…”
The word translated “jealous” is zeleuo: to have warmth of feeling for or against
from zelos: heat… which, in turn, is from zeo: to be hot (boil, of liquids; or glow, of solids, i.e. (fig.) be fervid (earnest)
Thanking Strong’s for my Greek, by the way…
So… the translation seems a little different from the Greek… but makes sense when taken in context, with the rest of the attributes.
And I know how jealousy can burn…
I would love to say jealousy is no longer a struggle for me, that I have matured beyond it… but I’d be lying.
I find myself jealous of others’ looks, possessions, talent, success, activities… And I resent women I think my husband could find attractive… especially if they’re younger than I…
We can’t brush off these feelings as insecurities.
They do reveal fear. They also reveal ingratitude and pride.
When I’m jealous, I fear losing what I consider mine, or I compare what I have to what “they” have… their newly-renovated kitchen, shiny car, beautifully-landscaped yard, straight teeth, incredible way with words, stylish wardrobe, smooth skin and toned bodies, financial security, Doctorate, new furniture, mother-still-living…
When I wilt at the sight of someone else’s shiny blessings, I tell God that what He’s given me isn’t good enough. I don’t have enough of the right stuff, the better stuff. He didn’t put me together as well as He should have.
Hmmm… I need to remember the next time I’m tempted to resent our next-door-neighbor while he mows his lawn while our lawn mower is broken again, or when the guy he can afford to pay plows his driveway while our snow blower, like our lawn mower, breaks almost every time it’s used – it’s the same as telling God He’s messed up, again. I mean, come on, my life could be so much better! EASIER!
Wow… Not good…
Living like God fails to give me good things I deserve reeks of pride.
So does comparing ourselves to others. We look for two things when we compare: how we’re superior and how we’re inferior.
It’s easier to see the pride in thinking we’re better than someone in some way, but the pride in comparing ourselves unfavorably?
How can it be pride to think someone is better than us? To believe we’re not so great? Not really even good… not good enough… oh.
Last week I mentioned that HUMILITY would be a big part of this post…
To embrace what humility really is, and live it out… tall order for me… long-standing area-under-construction… both chipped away and built up…
Because humility is not saying we’re not good enough.
So what is it?
Earlier this year our pastor mentioned that humility is not needing to compare yourself to others…
Such a simple definition… that’s not at all simple.
It hit home.
Saying I can’t… I’m not… So much easier than I CAN… I AM…
And they come with less responsibility, don’t they?
Truth is, I can do whatever God wants me to. I am uniquely designed to fulfill His purpose in my life in this time.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10
It’s not about me.
But how I see myself is important. It’s a reflection of how I see my Creator.
We need to be comfortable with what we can and cannot do, with what we’re good at and what we’re not.
There will always be somebody more skilled, smarter, better-looking, stronger, who has more…
And that’s ok.
I’m me. I’m responsible to do the job for which God has equipped me, not the jobs for which He’s equipped them.
I’m a forty-year-old wife and mom who will never again see my twenties, or look that young – It’s anything but a glamorous life, but I will never again be as selfishly foolish as I was back then. We live in a house in need of major renovation, with less-than-reliable appliances and equipment – It keeps us warm and dry and things get done sooner or later. My vehicle is rusting out beneath the doors, has a dent in the side and scratches all-over – It gets us where we need to go. I lack the resources to travel the world and see what there is to see – but there is beauty in my own backyard. I write and I take pictures… I’ll never write a best-seller and my photos are technically-imperfect – but when my aim is to glorify God, I just need to yield to Him what He’s given me and let Him do with it what He will.
I’m also a walking-buddy! And I love my walking-buddy.
This morning, jealousy was one thing we talked about. Our discussion reminded me of a pesky form of jealousy that I am unfortunately prone to, but hadn’t yet thought of while writing this post.
That jealousy that so frustrates because we just can’t quite put our finger on its root. We feel angry that someone has something that we don’t even want, but, for some unreasonable reason, we don’t think they should have it either…
My walking-buddy and I agreed that jealousy is ugly… and in the deeply-theological vocabulary we often use, it’s stupid.
It’s also a conundrum…
It’s all well and good for me to say the things I did in the “I’m a forty-year-old wife and mom” paragraph, but to live in the blessings of my life and not devalue them by wanting someone else’s…
I’m as forgetful as the Israelites, and get myself stuck in the wilderness.
As with my mental illness, there will be no magic snap-my-fingers-and-be-cured solution for me. It’s another matter of moment-by-moment obedience… relearning to be consistently grateful, to stop asking God but what about her… or him?!?
I so feel for Peter…
“I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.” Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved—the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.”
John 21:18-22, NLT
Sigh… I have a long way to go…
And like too much in life, I want to get there NOW!! Better yet, YESTERDAY!!
Keeping on taking this Corinthian love challenge to the next level, and the next, is quite a challenge!!
I need to take some time to go back over my earlier commitments… patient… kind…
I’ve been brought back to where I was last year at this time: understanding my need to be truly grateful.