Core scripture: “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones” (Proverbs 14:30).
Message: Alright, confession time. The ballots for Kansas Teacher of the Year and Master Teacher of the Year went out to my school this week. All teachers were asked to nominate one educator for each award. I put down the names of two colleagues that I thought fit the bill pretty well. Still, there was this secret craving inside me that my name would be nominated. Just to be on the ballot. For my name to be seen among the rest of the greatness in my school. The e-mail arrived last Friday letting us know that the final ballots were in our mailboxes. Midway through the day, I casually strolled by the mailroom.
The red half sheets of paper were placed in all the mailboxes. They teased me as I walked down the line to my box. Part of me didn’t want to pick it up. Part of me wanted to snag it quick to scan down to possibly see my name. It reminded me of the days back in middle school and high school when I tried out for the basketball team and had to have my parents drive me to school to see if I made the cut. I never made the team. Too short. Saying a quick prayer to accept whatever was on that red slip of paper, I snatched it, took a deep breath, and flipped it over. My name was absent from both lists.
I tried telling myself I was still worthy. I tried to not feel jealous. But the more I tried, the more envy began gnawing at my soul. The busyness of the weekend allowed time to forget about it, but Monday morning, as I began to set my heart on the day before me, it began to creep back into my heart. That was when I flipped open my iPad and clicked on the K-Love verse of the day: “A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body; jealousy is like cancer in the bones” (Proverbs 14:30). Pretty cool for God to show up like that. He is always ready to speak truth to me when I need to be redirected. Before that moment, I didn’t know what my blog was going to be about today. Now I knew.
Through my 41 years, I have learned that there will always be someone who is better looking, smarter, faster, stronger. The more I compare myself to others, the more I become disappointed. Why can’t I be content with the way I am? What would God tell me? He would wrap me up in His loving arms and let me know that I am indeed a masterpiece of His creation (Ephesians 2:10), beautifully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). He would remind me of James’ words in James 3:14-16: “But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.”
I love the metaphor in the core scripture above. Jealousy is a cancer. It eats away at all that is good inside you and darkens the heart. It makes you think that you will never measure up, and it always leaves you striving for more, hopeless. Why can’t we embrace who we are? Why can’t we simply accept the beauties that God instilled in us? To be jealous of others is to indirectly tell God that He didn’t get it right when He created you. I don’t believe that. That is a lie that Satan wants us to believe, and Satan’s lies must be crushed by God’s truths. Romans 12:21 tells us, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” See the good that God has given you! Accept it, cherish it, and use it for His glory.
This also reminds me of the importance of building up each student in my classroom, encouraging them in their strengths. These sweet children are certainly not immune to jealous feelings. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” If we as Christian teachers build up our students, this assists them in seeing the worth that God put in each of them. It lets them know they are valued no matter what. Encouragement helps trump jealousy. Be that encouragement to your students! Every kid out there has something worthy of praise. Find that worth and let them know about it. Again and again.
I feel somewhat cleansed now. My heart is at peace. Praise God for the beauty He has put in us all! Let that beauty, that indescribable light, shine bright for all to see today.
Song application: “Priceless” by For King and Country
I see you dressed in white
Every wrong made right
I see a rose in bloom
At the sight of you
Oh, so priceless
Irreplaceable, unmistakable, incomparable
Darling, it’s beautiful
I see it all in you
Oh, so priceless
Quote: “Anger, resentment and jealousy doesn’t change the heart of others—it only changes yours.” (Shannon L. Alder)
Bible story: Read Genesis 37 about the story of Joseph and his brothers. What did the jealousy of Joseph’s brothers do to their family? How was it destructive?
Prayer: Father, I pray you dissolve feelings of jealousy inside me. Let me be a guide to my students as well, showing them their worth and building them up in their strengths. Amen.