Friday, August 04, 2017

Book Review: Jealousy, The Sin No One Talks About

Jealousy, The Sin No One Talks About: How to Overcome Envy & Live a Life of Freedom
by R.T. Kendall

I finally finished reading this book today and upon logging it into my Goodreads account, I noticed that the last time I completed a book was 3 months ago! I have really been slacking in my reading, but it's only because I was stuck with not a very good book that I want to finish before I started another one. 

I bought it because I needed it. It is a reality that all of us go through this and I had to admit to myself that I was going through a bad bout of jealousy. 

I went hunting for articles and books to read but they weren't many except for this one that looks more promising. I've read R.T. Kendall before but I don't like his books that much. 

And my assessment was spot on, for me at least. 

The only parts I found useful was the first and the last. I could not agree with his treatment of the subject when he wrote it from the perspective of the gospel in Gospel Jealousy, which in my opinion he belittled the gospel in doing so.  And I do not agree with his interpretation of the Cain and Abel account. 

And of the portions I found useful, he kept repeating himself. But it's good that he does conclude everything in 13 ways to overcome jealousy in the last chapter. 

Here are some excerpts of the better sections of his book:

Jealousy is an easy thing to fall into. This is because it plays into our insecurity. Like it or not, we are all insecure.

The envy described in Ecclesiastes 4:4 emerges in one of two ways (or both): (1) productive envy is the desire to outdo what has preceded you (what motivates vates athletes in the Olympics); (2) counterproductive envy is the wish (consciously or unconsciously) to make another feel envious, although God may overrule and turn this to good.

Counterproductive jealousy is what eats our souls and leaves us bitter and impoverished. It is one of Satan's favorite vehicles by which he brings us to despair and destruction.

This is why jealousy is so bad. It has the very breath of Satan in it.

...the worst thing that can happen to a man is to succeed before he is ready.

Envy is inevitable; jealousy is envy that is manifested. Envy is the thought; jealousy is the obsession. The rule of thumb: deal with envy while it is only in your thoughts. That is the best way forward.

Holy Spirit never promotes us to the level of our incompetence. We may promote ourselves, others may promote us, but not the Holy Spirit. He knows what we are good at, what we are not good at, and what the Father has called us to do. The way we guarantee we will not be promoted to the level of our incompetence is that we truly look at ourselves soberly-with ruthless honesty, knowing that we all have only a "measure" of faith. This means that each of us has a limited measure of the Holy Spirit. You do not have all of God there is. Don't let anybody tell you that you do. Only Jesus had all of God there is (Col. 1:19); only He was given the Holy Spirit without any limit (John 3:34). It is our responsibility, then, to admit humbly to our limitations. Nobody can do everything. Quit trying to do everything! Do not imitate another's ability.

We may be envious or jealous of another's anointing or calling, but if each of us comes to terms with what God has called us to do and accept it without murmuring, we may lessen the likelihood of jealousy. King Saul became jealous of David's anointing (1 Sam. 18:12). And yet, sadly, we all tend to have problems with what God has called others to do. I repeat: Jesus said that it was none of Peter's business how John would die; He replied to Peter, "What is that to you? You must follow me" (John 21:21-22, emphasis added). So it is with all of us. We may ask, "What about him? What about her? What are You asking them to do?" And God says to each of us: "None of your business-you follow Me."

The grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence, but it seldom is.



  1. Does he speak to contentment at all Pearlie?

    And yes, no one wants to talk about "Christian" sins like jealousy, pride and gossip. Easier to talk about things (like being gay) that we ourselves are not tempted with. :(

    1. Yes, he refers to it as accepting and being contented with your calling. Here's an excerpt:
      6. Accept your calling. Accepting your calling means to embrace it gladly and not look beyond it. It means to resist looking over your shoulder to see what someone else's calling is. God made you you. I cannot explain Einstein's theory of relativity, but I know this much: there are no two things exactly alike in the universe. Our Creator God made everything, and everything He made is unique. You are unique. Nobody is like you. It makes God happy when you accept what He has decided what is right for you.

  2. Always thought of contentment as being happy with what you have not with who you are. It seems that if one is content with themselves they would not seek to grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.

    On the flipside, as he indicates, I guess one might not be content with the way that God made them and be jealous of other people's gifts and talents. I have not seen much of that though. Many people project a sense that they are God's gift to the world. ツ

    Mostly I have seen folks being jealous of the things that other people have. Or with what is going on in their life. (Phil 4:11-13)

    Anyway, I appreciate the response. I will ponder the idea of being jealous of other people's calling a bit more.

    Blessings, Bob