Read: James 4:2-4 (TPT)
You jealously want what others have so you begin to see yourself as better than others. You scheme with envy and harm others to selfishly obtain what you crave—that’s why you quarrel and fight. And all the time you don’t obtain what you want because you won’t ask God for it! And if you ask, you won’t receive it for you’re asking with corrupt motives, seeking only to fulfill your own selfish desires. You have become spiritual adulterers who are having an affair, an unholy relationship with the world. Don’t you know that flirting with the world’s values places you at odds with God? Whoever chooses to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy!
If we grew up with sisters and/or brothers, it is likely many of us claimed one of our siblings was mom and dad’s favorite. I’m guessing the one we may have suggested was the youngest sibling. Perhaps there were obvious reasons why those thoughts entered our minds or perhaps we were just plain jealous.
The biblical account of Joseph and his brothers in Genesis 37 is a great example of sibling jealousy. In this family, there were 12 siblings to argue over which one was the favorite. The victim? Joseph – not quite the youngest sibling but close. It was clear Joseph was favored by his father (Genesis 37:3). You may remember the story of how his father even bought him a special gift, a robe made of many colors.
The problem with Joseph’s brothers is that they were not children and their jealous intentions for him were evil, to say the least. They made plans to kill Joseph and throw him in a cistern and tell their father he was eaten by a wild animal. Then the plan changed to just throwing him in the cistern and letting him die slowly. Finally, the brothers decided to sell Joseph into slavery. A far cry from the little spats of our childhood, huh?
It is easy to fall prey to jealousy. We may even consider the idea of jealousy trivial in our definition of sin. The reality is, that jealousy breeds hate. James warns of the dangers of jealousy. When we desire what we do not have, we are making that decision based on the world’s influence. We want the unattainable, and when we realize we do not have it, we despise those that do. In those moments, we have a choice, we can continue conforming to what the world says we should have or choose to ask God, trusting He will provide for our every need. Remember, we are all children of God and each one of us is equally His favorite.