Master Your Emotions: Know God, No Fear


Family Series
Speaker: Joby Soriano Date: August 28, 2011

Our emotions can make or break us. So it’s important that we learn to master them, or else our emotions will master us and control us.

There are two negative emotions that can destroy lives and relationships: envy and jealousy. Shakespeare described such emotions as the “Green-Eyed Monster”, a monster that can attack even mature Christians. Even the Psalmist Asaph wrote about struggling with such emotions: “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:3)

We are taught that when we walk faithfully with the Lord and keep His commands, all will go well with us. Deuteronomy 6:3 says, “Listen closely, Israel, and be careful to obey. Then all will go well with you…” But sometimes, even when we are faithful to the Lord, we find the unfaithful doing even better in life than us. It is in this seeming disparity between the Word and our circumstances that the green-eyed monster comes in to terrorize us. This is exactly what Asaph experienced, as accounted in the verses following Psalm 73:3. “This is what the wicked are like, always free of care, they go on amassing wealth,” he wrote in verse 12.

When the Green-Eyed Monster threatens to overcome us, we need to remember to delight in the Lord – recognize our struggle, run to Him, and resist the temptation of comparing ourselves to others.
Recognizing the difference between envy and jealousy becomes important when we process these emotions. Envy is from the Latin “invidere” which means “to look at with enmity”. It is coveting what another has. Meanwhile, jealousy is from the Greek “zeloo” which means “zealous or burning with jealousy”. It is to resent another’s rivalry with the desire to guard or maintain what one possesses.

Envy is always wrong, but jealousy isn’t always. It’s natural and normal for jealousy to surface when a meaningful covenant relationship is threatened by unfaithfulness, such as in Numbers 5:29-31. In 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, Paul describes a Godly jealousy, and even God is said to be jealous (e.g. Exodus 20:4-5).
The problem of Asaph is the same problem we encounter from time to time: he was allowing the “Green-Eyed Monster” to limit his view of God’s goodness to material blessings and freedom from temporary setbacks. “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure,” he cried. To think this way is to see things from a human perspective, not from God’s. This paves the way for the Green-Eyed Monster’s attack.

Only when we recognize emotions of envy and jealousy, can we do something about them. And we deal with envy and jealousy by running to the Lord, just like what Asaph did. (v.17) When Asaph ran to God, he realized the bleak future of sinners and his own foolish thinking (v.18-22). And he realized the fullness of the Savior (v.23-28). When we struggle with envy and jealousy, we should run to the Lord and keep our eyes focused on His sovereignty, instead of focusing on our limited capacity.

Finally, to really overcome the Green-Eyed Monster, we need to resist comparing ourselves with others. After all, God has created and called us to Him individually and uniquely.

We have two options in life: we either allow the Green-Eyed Monster to overcome us or overcome it by delighting in the Lord. Don’t adapt human perspective. Choose to view problems from a heavenly perspective today. Remember, in Christ Jesus, we are more than conquerors. We can trample the Green-Eyed Monster under our feet!

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