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Is jealousy preventing your progress?

We all know how jealousy feels. We perceive a threat — real or imagined — and our muscles tense. Maybe our cheeks flush. And somewhere deep inside, a knot of emotion forms and begins rolling outward. 

When we identify what’s causing the jealousy welling up within us, we start to see what Moses saw: Jealousy makes the situation about us instead of what God is doing in and around us.

Jealousy makes the situation about us instead of what God is doing in and around us.

Sometimes, jealousy is caused by insecurity. (If he/she can do that, they won’t need me anymore.) Sometimes, jealousy is the result of craving someone else’s approval. (If I tell the boss, he or she will notice me and respect me more.)

God can work through whomever He wants. God didn’t care that Eldad and Medad weren’t at the tent with the other 70 elders. He still spoke through them (Numbers 11:26). But when Joshua found out they were prophesying, his first response was to shut them down (Numbers 11:28). 

Moses corrects Joshua saying, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them.” Moses understood that trying to limit God’s work in others’ lives was useless, and the more people following the Lord the better off Israel would be. 

A leader moves people toward a goal, and a good leader knows few things kill a mission or ministry like jealousy. Wherever we’re leading — whether it’s at home with our kids, in our offices with our colleagues, or at school with our peers — we’ll accomplish more together and with the power of the Holy Spirit than we will alone. 

A leader’s role isn’t to limit but to look up. If our eyes are focused inward, like Joshua was, we’ll miss what God is doing in us and around us. But as long as our eyes are on the Lord, we’ll see that He is always working — guiding us to success and protecting us from sin (Psalm 16:8, Psalm 25:15). 


  • When was the last time you were jealous of someone? As you think about that experience, what triggered your jealousy? 
  • Is there anyone in your life, like Moses, who will help you look up instead of in?

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