There is nothing more hurtful to spirituality in a believer, or more destructive of his fruitfulness, than jealousy. Wherever this venom-snake is nursed in the bosom, spiritual vigour ceases, and zeal for God declines. Nearly all the sorrows, the heart-burnings, and the quarrels that exist among the servants of the Lord, have their root and their rise in jealousy. “Jealousy is cruel as the grave.” It knows no mercy; it heeds no tear. Yet this sin, in all its virulence, may exist in one who professes great spirituality. It may be hidden under a pretence of great zeal for God. It cannot be laid hands on, like drunkenness and theft, yet it cannot be altogether hid. It manifests itself in word and deed, in none more so than in those who profess to serve the Lord.

Jealousy may be known by the following marks. It cannot bear to see another more highly exalted than itself. It looks with a cold suspicious eye on the prosperity of another. It cannot bear to see God using another and setting it aside. It cannot rejoice and praise the Lord for sinners saved through other means. It cannot bear to hear of tens of thousands ascribed to David’s sword, and only thousands to its own. Like Saul of old, it raises the javelin to strike the man whom God is approving, to the wall. It deprecates his work, and secretly wishes to see both the work and the worker fall. It severs the bonds of Christian fellowship, and divides the servants of the One Master into coteries of spiritual Ishmaelites, each striving to bring its neighbour to nought, and to carry off the palm of being his conqueror.

The Holy One of Israel will not be mocked. His eyes behold, and His eyelids try the hearts and the motives of men. He knows where this unholy viper hides its head, and He, the righteous Lord, will be avenged sooner or later upon it.

Beloved fellow believer, let us see to it, that this most hateful thing finds no quarter in us. The root of it is undoubtedly in our natural hearts, in common with every other form of evil. Since we are commanded to “mortify” and “abstain” from all complicity with it, we are responsible not to nurse it. We need not let it have its way. When jealousy would raise its head, there is help for us in God. Let us betake ourselves to God. It cannot bear the light; it cannot lift its head in His holy presence.