Youth Group Lesson – Jealousy
Bible: Proverbs 13:40; 1 Corinthians 13:4
Description: When we let jealousy control our life, we aren’t truly living. Instead, we’re rotting away. When we’re jealous of others, we’re not being thankful for the blessings we have in our own life. Jealousy is going to be a part of life, but the good news is that with God’s help, we can overcome it.
Opening Game: Weighed Down
- Clear cup filled with water
- Green food coloring
- Two buckets
Before the game starts, line up two lines chairs. Space them out far enough apart that someone could comfortably stand between them. Split the group into two teams. Have each team line up behind the line of chairs.
Hand the first player in each line a bucket, and have run through the line of chairs by weaving in and out (going around each chair) and then run back through the line, carrying the bucket. Once they get back, they give the next person in line the bucket.
Before the next person in line can go, they have to add a rock to the bucket. Before the next person can go, they have to add two rocks to the bucket. The next player adds three, the next adds four, etc.
This continues until the last player is carrying the bucket with all the rocks in it while running through the line. The first team to complete the challenge wins!
Teach – Jealousy
I have to say, you guys got slower and slower as that game went on. Why? Because more and more weight was being added to what you had to carry. Who here has ever been jealous of someone else? We all have!
So let me ask you a question: When you were jealous, did you feel happy?
Probably not.Because happiness and jealousy aren’t two things that go hand in hand. Jealousy tends the suck the happiness out of your life. Another question for you: When you’re jealous, do you feel at peace? You don’t, do you? You feel uneasy and uncomfortable, not peaceful.
Jealousy causes you to stop focusing on the good things in your own life, and it makes peace nearly impossible. Just like in that game, jealousy weighs you down little by little, until you’re eventually just stuck instead of living. There’s a verse in the Bible that gives a really good, kind of creepy example of this.
Read Proverbs 14:30 “A heart at peace gives life to the body,but envy rots the bones.” – Rots the bones—doesn’t that sound so creepy? But that’s what envy and jealousy do. When you envy someone else and are jealous over something they have, it causes you to miss out on your own life because you’re so focused on what you don’t have.
So you’re not living, you’re just weighed down and stuck. And while you’re just stuck, your bones are rotting. Does that sound like something you want to happen to you? I certainly don’t think so! I’d much rather have a heart at peace, and that’s just not possible with jealousy.
1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” – Love doesn’t envy. It isn’t jealous. So now we know that if we have jealousy, we can’t have peace and we can’t have love. Those are two of the most important things!
Jealousy is just looking worse and worse, isn’t it? Sadly, jealousy is a part of life. We’re humans, we sin, and we get jealous. It’s going to be a temptation that is always there. The good news is this: just like every other sin, with the help of God, we can overcome it.
Let’s talk about some ways we can overcome jealousy.
You Can Overcome Jealousy by Focusing on all the Good Things in Your Life.
God has blessed us, right? I think we can all agree with that. He’s blessed us with forgiveness and eternal life—He could give us absolutely nothing else and we’d still be more blessed than we deserve! But He doesn’t just stop there. He continues to bless us. He gives us gifts, and family, and friends. Think about all the good things you have in your life because of God’s blessings!
When you’re jealous of other people’s lives and the things that they have, it’s almost like you’re telling God that your life and the things you have are not enough. That you don’t appreciate them. How do you think that makes Him feel? So instead of spending time being jealous of others, spend time focusing on all the good things in your life. Spend time being thankful to God for everything He has blessed you with.
You Can Overcome Jealousy by Not Comparing Yourself to Others.
Jealousy usually starts by comparing yourself to other people. You start to compare your looks, your life, your belongings, your talents…and pretty soon, you’re not content with who you are. You can’t be jealous and content at the same time—it’s impossible! So focus on being content with who you are and what you have. You can do this by relying on your relationship with God.
Sometimes we’re jealous of other people because we feel like they’re so much better than us. We don’t feel like we are enough, or like our life is good enough. It’s important to remember that God loves you just the way you are. He loves you more than anyone else ever could. And do you know what else? He created you exactly the way you are! So lean into that. Instead of comparing yourself to others, rely on your relationship with Him and His love for you to find contentment with who you are.
You Can Overcome Jealousy by Not Worrying About Yourself so Much.
Jealousy comes from selfishness. If you were selfless, jealousy would be impossible! Why? Because you wouldn’t be worried about yourself, you’d be worried about others. And you would be happy for them whenever something good happened to them. You’d be happy about the good things in their life. We’re selfish by nature, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t practice selflessness.
If you want to overcome jealousy, this is a great place to start. Try to worry about yourself less and others more. Try to think about yourself less, and think about others more. Try to focus less on what you don’t have and focus more on being happy for other people. Is it hard? Oh yeah. But living a life overwhelmed with jealousy, being stuck and having rotting bones? That’s way worse.
You Can Overcome Jealousy by Talking to God About it.
At the end of the day, you have to know that jealousy is something that’s going to happen in our lives. That doesn’t mean we have to give into it! Next time you feel jealous, talk to God about it. Seriously, He wants to hear from you! The next time you start to envy something that someone has, or become jealous over an opportunity that someone else got, just start praying!
Tell God you’re feeling jealous and ask Him to help you overcome those feelings. Ask Him to help you see the person you’re jealous of through His eyes. Ask Him to help you be less selfish and more selfless. Ask Him to help you focus on Him instead of your feelings of jealousy. Here’s the thing about jealousy. Once it’s in your life, it creeps into every part of it. You can’t just have a little bit of jealousy. If you don’t do anything about that little bit of jealousy, it soon grows and becomes bigger and bigger, effecting every area of your life.
If you’re jealous over one thing, soon you’ll be jealous over more, and pretty soon you won’t be happy with anything in your life.
Get out water and food coloring. Let’s pretend that this cup of water is your life, and this food coloring is jealousy.
Uncap the food coloring and hold it pretty high over the cup of water, but don’t squeeze any in. Now, this is what it’s like when there’s a little bit of jealousy in your life. Let’s say your friend Jessica and you both audition for the same part in the play at school, and she was the one who got the part. A little bit of jealousy is natural, right? So you just ignore it.
Move the food coloring a little closer to the cup. You don’t pray about it, you don’t try to get over it, you just leave it there. And sure, you feel a little guilty about the way you’re thinking about Jessica. But you convince yourself that being a little jealous is fine.
Move the food coloring a little closer to the cup. But then, at practice, you notice how good at acting Jessica is. And you start to get more jealous.
Move the food coloring a little closer to the cup. Then, all of the sudden, everything about her makes you jealous—her hair, her clothes, the way your teacher seems to really like her. You start to not appreciate your own things because hers seem so much better.
Move the food coloring a little closer to the cup. And then, you can’t help but look at everyone else around you and all of the things they have. You can’t help but compare yourself to everyone else and be jealous of them.
Squeeze the food coloring into the cup. Now, can we separate that food coloring back into just one thing? Is it possible to move it to just one part of the cup? No! It’s in all of the water in the cup, because once it spreads, you can’t take it back.
Jealousy never turns out good. It eats away at you. It harms you and your relationship. It steals your happiness, love, and peace. That verse says it leads to rotting bones!
Does that sound like something you want in your life?
Small Group Discussion Questions
1. What are some of the things you find yourself being jealous over the most?
2. What do you think about the Bible verse that compares being jealous to rotting bones? Does that make you think differently about jealousy?
3. How do you think it makes God feel when you’re jealous over other people and the things they have? Do you think it makes Him feel like you’re not thankful for all the things He’s blessed you with?
4. When you focus on being thankful for what you have, is it harder to be jealous of others? Why do you think that is?
5. Do you think that if you saw yourself the way God sees you, you’d still struggle with being jealous of other people?
6. Are you content with your life and the things in it? Why or why not?
7. Do you think that you would be less jealous if you were content with yourself and your life?
8. We talked about how being selfish leads to jealousy, and being selfless makes jealousy go away. What are some ways you could be selfless and think of others more than yourself this week?
9. Do you think that talking to God when you feel jealous will help you get over your jealousy? Do you think He wants to hear about it?
10. Do you think that comparing yourself to others is what leads to you being jealous of them? Do you want to stop comparing yourself to others? Why or why not?
Teach – Wrap-Up
So we’ve learned that jealousy steals the good things from your life. Who would want that? But we’ve also learned that it’s possible to overcome jealousy.
I need two volunteers to come stand up here. Okay, so we’re going to say that (volunteer number one) has a really great singing voice, but isn’t so good at talking to new people.
And we’re going to say that (volunteer number two) is really great at talking to people they don’t know and at making them comfortable, but isn’t too good at singing.
Now, (volunteer two) really wishes they had a better singing voice.
They’re really jealous over (volunteer one).
And (volunteer one) wishes they were better at talking to people and making them feel comfortable, so they’re jealous of (volunteer two).
So, you’re both jealous of each other. Why don’t you switch places?
Alright, now, let’s say that God has planned for (volunteer one) to sing at a concert, where afterwards someone will pray and accept Jesus into their hearts.
This same night, He’s planned for (volunteer two) to meet someone who looks lonely and start up a conversation where they eventually get to tell someone about Jesus.
If they were so quick to trade their talents because of jealousy, those plans couldn’t happen! We are all the way we are for a reason; don’t forget that. God gave you the talents and gifts that you have for a reason.
When you’re jealous of other people’s talents and gifts, you’re losing sight of your own and what God may want to use them for. Don’t let that happen! This week, let’s work on overcoming jealously. With the help of God, it is possible!
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