WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 14, 2022
TOPIC: WHO ARE YOU JEALOUS OF?
BY T. O. BANSO
“On the next Sabbath day, almost everyone in the city came to hear the word of the Lord. Seeing the crowd, the Jewish people became very jealous and said insulting things and argued against what Paul said” (Acts 13:44-45 New Century Version).
The word jealousy is used positively and negatively in the Bible. Jealousy is a positive emotion and a negative emotion. I’m dealing with the negative use of the word in this message, which is “a feeling of unhappiness and anger because someone has something or someone that you want” (Cambridge Dictionary).
“Jealous” is defined as feeling resentment against someone because of his rivalry, success, or advantages. Jealousy is often used synonymously with envy in the Bible.
In the course of the missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas, they came to Antioch in Pisidia. On the Sabbath day, they went into the synagogue, and after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue asked them if they had any word of exhortation for the people.
Paul stood up and gave a message, which is recorded in Acts 13:16-41. The message had a positive impact on the people, such that when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that the words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Moreover, when the congregation had broken up, many Jews and godly converts to Judaism, who worshiped at the synagogue, followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men persuaded them to continue in the grace of God (verses 42-43).
Having had a good meeting, obviously, Paul and Barnabas and their team must have looked forward to the next Sabbath day, especially having been invited to come to preach to them that day. Therefore, they went to the Synagogue the next Sabbath day.
Acts 13:44-45 says, “On the next Sabbath day, almost everyone in the city came to hear the word of the Lord. Seeing the crowd, the Jewish people became very jealous and said insulting things and argued against what Paul said” (New Century Version).
There was a large turnout of people in the Synagogue, which could have been the result of the impact of the message of Paul the previous Sabbath day. Apparently, words had gone round and the congregation was huge. This is the kind of turnout that would gladden the heart of any preacher and anyone who loved to see multitudes hear the Word of God.
However, some people were not happy. They were “very jealous” of Paul and his team for the huge crowd that came to hear the word of the Lord. They were jealous of the success and the impact of the ministry of Paul and his team. These jealous people, according to the Bible, were Jews.
Obviously, these Jewish people were not all the Jews in the Synagogue. The previous Sabbath day, the Bible says that many Jews and godly converts to Judaism, who gathered at the synagogue, followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men persuaded them to continue in the grace of God (verses 42-43).
Those who were very jealous were the Jewish religious leaders who must be uncomfortable that more people were going to believe the teachings of Paul and his team, who were Christians. These Jewish leaders were practising Judaism.
Acts 13:44 says almost everyone in the city came to hear the Word of the Lord! That’s awesome. The entire city turned up to hear, not the word of Paul or Barnabas, but the word of the Lord! But the Jewish leaders were jealous. Probably, they had never recorded such attendance. They must have queried why these Christian preachers should record such success.
What did these Jews do? “Seeing the crowd, the Jewish people became very jealous and said insulting things and argued against what Paul said” (Acts 13:45 New Century Version). Jealous because of the multitudes, they slandered Paul and opposed everything he said.
However, Paul and Barnabas declared boldly, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46 New King James Version).
Nevertheless, the Gentiles were very glad and thanked the LORD for His message. Many of them believed. The word of the Lord spread throughout that region. “Then the Jewish leaders stirred up both the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town” (Acts 13:50 New Living Translation).
Did you see what jealousy made these religious leaders do? They caused trouble to stop the preaching of the word of God. Yet, these would claim to be religious people, worshipping God. Because of their persecution and expulsion, Paul and Barnabas, and their team, shook off the dust of their feet against them and went to the city of Iconium where a similar thing happened.
Who are you jealous of? Ministers of God could be jealous just as their followers or members could. A minister could be jealous of other ministers because of the anointing or grace of God upon their lives. Some ministers could be jealous because of the nature, scope, impact, and membership strength of other ministries, the success of their programmes, their fame, and public acceptance, their human and material resources, etc.
Are you jealous of any minister? Paul said some people preached Christ from jealousy (envy) and strife, and some from goodwill (Philippians 1:15). Some are being driven to ‘succeed’ in ministry out of jealousy. They are not running the race that is set before them; they are not running in their own lane. May that not be you.
Ecclesiastes 4:4 says, “Then I observed that most people are motivated to success by their envy of their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless, like chasing the wind” (New Living Translation). May that not be you. Be careful! Don’t be jealous of any minister.
Jealousy is not only a sin; it could cause one to commit other sins, even as a minister. Mark 15:10 says Pilate knew that the chief priests had arrested Jesus out of envy. Matthew 27:18 says a similar thing. They eventually became murderers because of jealousy! Cain killed his brother, Abel, because of jealousy (Genesis 4).
Christians who are members of the same assembly could be jealous of one another because of their roles, functions and grace, professions, social status, life accomplishments, material possessions, etc. Comparison leads to jealousy. Stop it! “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another” (Galatians 6:4 New King James Version).
Worse still, Christians could be jealous of sinners, especially because of their wealth, social status, or achievements. Psalm 37:1-2 warns, “Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb” (New King James Version). Similarly, Proverbs 23:17 warns, “Do not let your heart envy sinners, but be zealous for the fear of the LORD all the day” (New King James Version).
Who are you jealous of? Is it your neighbours, colleagues at work, your friends, fellow believers, relations, competitors, etc? Some people are even jealous of their benefactors or helpers, and the jealousy pushes them to go and do evil against them. They might succeed in carrying out their evil plans, and when eventually they’re caught, they start crying that it is the work of the devil. Don’t be jealous of anyone. “For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil” (James 3:16 New Living Translation).
Jealousy is destructive. It may destroy the person someone is jealous of, but it will certainly destroy any jealous person who doesn’t repent of it. Proverbs 27:4 says, “Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but who can survive the destructiveness of jealousy?”(New Living Translation). Jealousy is more dangerous than anger and wrath. Jealousy is like cancer in the bones (Proverbs 14:30).
Jealousy is one of the marks of worldliness – carnality (1Corinthians 3:3). It is part of the works of the flesh and it will hinder you from inheriting the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Don’t be jealous of anyone. You don’t know their stories. You don’t know their life’s journey. You don’t even know where the shoe is pinching them. You don’t know their struggles. There is more to what you see or know about them.
Repent of jealousy today. Lay it aside, alongside other sins (1 Peter 2:1-2). Walk in love with others. Love, the unconditional love of God, agape love, is the solution to jealousy. Love is not jealous (1 Corinthians 13:4). Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law (Romans 13:10). Don’t be jealous of anyone.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: I will walk in love with all; I shall not be jealous of anyone. Help me Holy Spirit. I will not be a victim of anyone’s jealousy in Jesus’ name.
(For over 800 in-depth and powerful messages by T.O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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