“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires for pleasure that war in your members? You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.”
James 4:1-3 NKJV
Each of the enemies of the heart is energized by the idea that somebody owes something. Guilt says, “I owe you.” Anger is fueled by the notion that you owe me. Greed is kept alive by the assumption that I owe me. This fourth heart issue is no differently. Jealousy. Jealousy says, “God owes me.”
When we think about jealousy or envy, we immediately think of the things others have that we lack—looks, skills, opportunities, health, height, inheritance, etc. We assume our problem is with the person who possesses what we lack. But let’s face it; God could have fixed all of that for us. Whatever he gave your neighbor, he could have given you too. That’s why you may feel inside that he owes you.
Jealousy can terrorize your life and wreak havoc in your relationships. The good news is, this behemoth, like the other three, has a vulnerability. And it’s something you might not expect: stop coveting what others have and start asking God for what he knows is best for you.
As James says, our external conflicts are the direct result of an internal conflict that has worked its way to the surface. We want something but we don’t have it, so we get in fights with others. The desires James is referring to in this passage represent unquenchable thirsts—our thirsts for stuff, money, recognition, success, progress, intimacy, sex, fun, relationship, partnership.
So what do we do with desires and appetites that can never be fully and finally satisfied? James says we take them to the one who created them in the first place. In other words, James is giving us permission to pour out our hearts in an unfiltered conversation with our Creator.
Every concern you have, great and small, matters to the Father because you matter to the Father. Whether it pertains to your love life, your career, your marriage, your parents, your children, your finances, your education, or your appearance, bring it to him. And keep bringing it to him until you find the peace to get up off your knees and face the day, confident in the knowledge that he cares for you.
Let me assure you, your heart will always be dear to his heart.
What is your heart aching for? Spend some time in absolutely free, uninhibited conversation with God about what you feel. Ask Him to reveal his love to you along the way.