19 November 2023
By Rachel Melhado
The Spirit that God breathed into our hearts is a jealous lover who intensely desires to have more and more of us. James 4:5 TPT
Jealousy is a loaded word, isn’t it? Most of us will have experienced jealousy. It may be within us or directed towards - it’s alienating envy, it’s the controlling force, it’s the inner voice that says, “Why not me?” Jealousy skews our heart and colours how we see each other, leading to comparisons and we end up feeling superior or inferior to the person we are jealous of, transgressing the law of love and hurting our Father who wants us to trust Him to fulfil our desires.
Jealousy generally carries such negative vibes and so reconciling it with the goodness of God can take a moment. In the world, jealousy is often in the context of a close relationship gone sour with micromanagement and control. The passage I picked out for this week talks of God as a jealous lover. That seems strong, right? But there must be more to jealousy than the negatives already discussed. God’s jealousy must be good because He is good.
We know that God never tramples our free will but, in His love and intense desire for us to experience the best, he is jealous that we don’t settle for second best but enter into the life He has prepared for us with Him. What an amazing banquet He is inviting us to – are we availing ourselves of everything there is on offer? Health and healing in every area; a transformed and healthy mind; provision and community; family and fun; purpose and hope?
The amazing thing about this love relationship with Him is that - just as any healthy relationship - it’s not a one-way street. I was struck by this recently when reading the account of Jesus’ baptism in The Passion Translation. The Father addresses Jesus, ‘My Son, you are my beloved one. Through you I am fulfilled.’ The Father is fulfilled in the love relationship that Jesus’ death and resurrection has bought for us, reconciling us with the Father. His is a pure jealousy in which we avail ourselves of all that He has provided for us but more than that: He wants our adoration.
So practically, what does this look like? How do we give more and more of ourselves to Him because He’s not wrestling it off us? This passage is so helpful (James 4:6-10). We submit and surrender everything to God, drawing close to Him by cleansing our lives and keeping our hearts pure and free of doubt. We humble ourselves and rescind our ideas, thoughts, emotions, plans and desires to Him and as we do, His grace is POURED out upon us. The means to live in this amazing position are supplied as well - we’re set up to receive.