Online Christian Counseling and Opinion

Jealousy: A Survival Guide

The second of  five articles on “The Five Fires of Life”


In the second of the series on the Five Fires of Life, we look at one of the most serious of life’s “sunburn sensitive” issues, jealousy; a.k.a. “the green eyed monster”.

Although normally associated with love and romance between men and women, jealousy expands far beyond romance.

Loosely defined, jealousy is resentment against a rival, a person enjoying success or advantage, etc., or against another’s success or advantage itself.

Jealousy can also be mental and emotional uneasiness from suspicion or the fear of rivalry, unfaithfulness,etc. as in love, romance or aims.

The difficulty with jealousy is that it can set off a host of other “sunburn sensitive”  (i.e. so sensitive you can’t even touch it) areas of life such as anger and temptation in general.

As a result, it is an absolute for sound spiritual, emotional, mental and physical well being to learn how to recognize when jealousy occurs and then to avoid and even eliminate it completely from our lives.

This is one are where Christian and secular/traditional psychology disagree. Mainstream psychology says in general that everyone gets jealous to an extent; there is no way to avoid it, you cannot eliminate and at best, you can only hope to control it.

Christian psychology agrees that everyone gets jealous on occasion, however, there is a Biblical basis for avoiding and even eliminating jealousy if we follow God’s word.

In order to overcome jealousy, it’s essential  to understand that biblical basis on how jealousy occurs and how to avoid or eliminate it from our lives.

Cain kills Abel out of JEALOUSY

One of the  greatest overall depictions of jealousy in the Bible actually occurs not between lovers but between two family members; the story of the the two brothers Cain and Abel.

From this story in Genesis we find a basic understanding of jealousy.

There are five Biblical Guidelines for understanding, avoiding and eliminating JEALOUSY.

Jealousy occurs when:

  1. There is DISAPPOINTMENT (Genesis 4:5)

            God was disappointed in Cain and Cain was disappointed in

            God’s displeasure.

            Disappointment only occurs when man keeps his eyes on man and material


      2.   An UN-GODLY ATTITUDE is present  (Genesis 4:3; 5-7)

            An attitude not conducive to God or the things of God must be eliminated.

            Cain did things his way and not God’s way.

      3.   Man fails to see God as who and what GOD really is (Genesis 4:3; 10-14)

            God is omnipotent, omni-scient and omnipresent.

            Man MUST be totally dependent on God; to do otherwise diminishes the power and

            effectiveness of God.

            Cain thought he could fool God and lie to God. Man can do neither.

      4.   Man fails to see Himself as who and what He really is. (Genesis 4:5-7)

            Man is nothing more than DUST and man will return to dust.

            Somehow Cain failed to see the power of God and the limitation of himself as a man

            resulting in God banishing him from the garden of Eden.

      5.   Man is UNFAITHFUL to God (Genesis 4:3;4-6)

            Man disobeys God directly, gives to God with the WRONG attitude and then tries to

            avoid and lie to God.

            Cain did and we so often do this today. We disobey God directly and then try to make

            amends through penitence rather than repentance. Doing rather than actually

            turning from and changing completely.

Jealousy The Green Eyed Monster

So the bottom line is, if we constantly look to, completely obey and depend solely on God, we will be less app to resent others or be mentally and emotionally uneasy from suspicion or the fear of rivalry. We will more easily recognize and then avoid or even eliminate the old “green eyed monster” of jealousy from our lives and have one less “sunburn sensitive” area of life to be concerned about.

The apostle Paul instructed his young protege Timothy in this matter by saying, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” 2Timothy 1:7.

©copyright 2011  Lee Outlaw III, PhD

Comments on: "Jealousy: A Survival Guide" (4)

  1. A most excellent article on Jealousy. In my humble opinion, this is a must read for us all.


  2. Oh that green eyed monster… In so many areas… Yes God can help us with it if we let him… another Great POST.. GOD LOVES YOU SO DO I…


  3. Thanks Debbie, I appreciate the read and the comment.


  4. Thank you Dr. Lee for this very interesting Article on Jealousy. It is a terrible emotion; it holds resentment. It festers inside like a wound. And you’re right, it can go beyond romance. I’ve had friends jealous of me, and it hurts like any other emotion. I’ve been in relationships where jealously played a major role in dissipating the relationship because it cannot exist between people or you never move on. Thank goodness in my 20’s I let this emotion go….I asked God to help me with it and he did. Since my 20’s, this emotion rarely rears its ugly head. I rejoice in the success of others, I always have. What bothered me is that others wanted what I had….when I told them, why be jealous when there is enough for all of us? There is enough love, talent, and friendship to go around that we don’t need to feel jealous over another having something we want. They can have it too, by their own methods and the efforts they put forth to get it. We all can live the dream, without wanting the same dream.


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