I originally shared this article at Internet Cafe Devotions (link below)
Is there someone you are jealous of right now? Have you recently looked at social media and thought, “Why can’t I have that (fill in the blank)?” I know God is speaking to me when I keep hearing the same message from different sources. Recently, that happened when I kept running across Romans 12:15, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” (NASB) As I looked at the meaning of the original words for “rejoice” and “weep”, this is not talking about the casual “Way to go” or the hasty “I’m sorry”. It means feeling the joy with someone on a deep level so that it becomes my joy. It means weeping with someone in his or her sorrow so that it becomes my sorrow. God is using this truth to speak to my heart about my struggle with jealousy, pride and self-seeking. Too often when I hear of someone’s success or see them receiving attention and accolades, my first response is jealousy. That is an ugly truth. There have been times when I didn’t “like” something on Facebook because of jealousy. There are times when I do not “rejoice” with someone because I am too busy thinking about what I want. How sad! Think of what I miss out on because of this. When I do choose to rejoice with someone I get the privilege of sharing his or her joy!
When I hear of someone’s sorrow, I do offer sympathy but I don’t always enter into their sorrow with them because I don’t want to leave the comfort of my own life or because I don’t want to take the time. But when I do enter into that sorrow, a bond forms in the relationship that was not there before. God’s intention for His body, for believers, is that we would be there for each other, that we would share each other’s joys and sorrows. In 1 Corinthians 12 God uses Paul to describe what the body of Christ should look like. In verse 26, he writes, “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.” (NASB) Paul is referring to the fact that if we stub our little toe, the whole body reacts, if we taste delicious food, we feel it all over. That is how God wants it to be in the body of Christ. When one of us is honored or succeeds, all should rejoice (with believers around the world). When one of us is suffering, we should all feel it. That is why so many Christians in America are being called to pray for our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world who are being persecuted. They are suffering terrible persecution, torture and pain. We should feel that! We should suffer with them. Our body is being attacked. So, we pray, we intercede and we try to make others aware. For me, the rejoicing with others is a personal matter. I need to make the choice when I see another’s joy to enter into that joy with them. I need to choose to deny my selfish bent. None of us can do these things perfectly and never in our own strength. These actions and attitudes come as we yield to the Holy Spirit and say no to our flesh and natural inclinations.
Are you aware of the suffering believers are going through around the world? Will you commit to pray for them? Are you experiencing some jealousy? Make the choice to be thankful for that person’s situation or experience and let them know how you feel. Another thing that helps with jealousy or envy is making a list of all we personally have to be thankful for. How can I envy someone else when I realize God has given me countless gifts?