Preached James 4:1-12 this last Sunday (audio to follow soon). James includes this statement…
James 4:4-5 You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?
Here’s some of what I had to say about that,
You know, jealousy is not always a bad thing. It can be a very very good thing. If my wife were to commit adultery, if she were to cheat on me, then I would be jealous and that would be right. She’s my wife and a response of jealousy in that case would be the proper way to react. It would be a right and proper response of my love for her, a love which she ought not to share with anyone else – that’s what marriage is! And because God loves His church, His bride, with a fierce and full and deep and good love like the very best husband He is jealous when we cheat on Him, when we go to another man to satisfy us. God, James reminds us, has put his Spirit within us, He has shared of His very self with us – just like a husband does with his wife.
You may not have thought of it that way before. You may, in fact, have thought that the language of God being jealous was somehow wrong. I remember watching a clip of Oprah a while ago where she said this language of God being jealous was wrong and she preferred a God who wasn’t jealous and more loving. But Oprah got it completely wrong – a God that isn’t jealous is a God who doesn’t love enough! Right and proper jealousy flows out of deep deep love.