In The Keitel home, we love onions. They’re in nearly every meal we make. But here’s my confession: Even though it costs extra, I buy the plastic containers of pre-cut onions from the grocery store. It’s worth the extra dollar or two every time because I’m a miserable onion crier. I’ve got some secret angst that there’s no solution to this in the book of Proverbs, but I guess it wasn’t import enough.
ANYWAYS. A few days ago I was actually cutting an onion because they were out of the pre-cut boxes at the store. And I started thinking- jealousy is a lot like an onion. Beyond the obvious- tears and frustration- an onion has so many layers, and I’m convinced that peeling back the layers is what causes the real sting. Like an onion, if we peel back the layers of jealousy, going deeper and deeper to find the core of the issue, it’s going to be painful. But we know all too well that no true healing ever occurs without the sting of pain and at least a few tears.
LAYER ONE: Jealousy & Behaviors Motivated By Jealousy. Although you can smell the yucky stench, its pretty painless to look at and is usually dismissed in apathy.
LAYER TWO: The Desires Driving Jealousy. There’s this humanly innate need for love and affection, a thirst for approval, a desire to be accepted. And when it seems these needs aren’t being met the way we want them to be, they surface themselves as jealousy, which we saw in layer one.
LAYER THREE: The Core Of It All. I believe jealousy, at its root, comes from not believing that God is enough. If we truly believed God was enough, there would be no more layers. Our need for love and acceptance would be fulfilled and we’d be content.
We like to stand with our arms held high, and sing songs about Christ being all we need on Sunday morning, yet hours after leaving the sanctuary our hearts sing a different song, because at the core, this is how we really feel:
God, your love is not enough for me. I want a love that comes with flowers and diamonds and goodnight kisses and snuggly profile photos. I know you stepped down from your throne and the glories of heaven to die a criminal’s death for me, performing the greatest act of love in all of history, but your love is not enough for me.
God, your approval is not enough for me. I know that you are the righteous judge, who calls me blameless and pure. But I need more. I need the approval of my parents and my friends. I need likes and re-tweets, follows, compliments, and invitations. I need the approval of man to declare my value. Your approval is not enough for me.
God, your plans are not enough for me. I need to make my own path. I know that you see more than I see. I know that you’re omniscient and sovereign and good. I know that you go ahead, behind, and beside me, but I want to establish my own steps. Your plans are not enough for me.
God, your grace is not enough for me. I’ve got to accomplish more, do more, succeed more, and serve more. THEN I will have a track record that deems me worthy. I need to do more good to outweigh the damage I’ve done. I need to measure up to my perfect Christian friends. Your grace is not enough for me.
Whew. I don’t know about you, but it kind of knocks the wind out of me to read the insides of our hearts. We don’t say things like this aloud but internally we’re grabbing ahold of anything and everything to fill our thirst.
Ironically, the love and approval of man that we try to top off our glasses with leave our hearts dry, longing for more- jealous for more. We’re deceived; believing if we had more our thirst would be satisfied.
But the Word of God tells us otherwise, through one woman’s encounter with Jesus in John 4.
“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
To this uneducated woman, it seems that Jesus is comparing the water from the well to some kind of special water he has. He is actually teaching that the things of this world will not satisfy us- we will be thirsty again; however he provides for us in a way that is eternally satisfying.
The woman in this passage is significant. Historically this woman would need a husband in order to have any kind of life worth living. But as Jesus points out, this woman has had 5 husbands. The text doesn’t tell us exactly why, but its possible for this time period that men continually divorced her because she was unable to conceive a child- a crucial economic factor in this time period. After her fifth husband, it appears that her only option was to become a prostitute to make ends meet. Although she comes from a different time, I’m positive that we can relate to her.
She wanted her basic physical and emotional needs met; she tried finding that in relationships and keeping up with the expectations of society, and when that didn’t work out, she took matters into her own hands. She did what she could to quench her deep thirst.
Like the woman at the well, until we realize that the only satisfying water comes from Christ, we’ll be thirsty forever- caught in the cycle of discontentment and jealousy.
When His love is enough, we’ll stop searching for it in the wrong places.
When His approval is enough, we’ll stop letting others define our worth.
When His plans are enough, we’ll stop letting anxiety make all our choices for us.
When His grace is enough, we’ll stop trying to save ourselves.
When we live in a place that truly believes Christ is enough, we won’t have anything to be jealous for, because we’ll have all we could ever want or need.
So its time for me to ask you…when looking deep down at your layers, do you believe Christ is enough?
With Love & Freedom,