By Rick Cowman
In James chapter 4, verse 4-5, we read these words: “You’re cheating on God! If all you want is your own way, flirting with the world every chance you get, you end up enemies of God and His way. And do you suppose God doesn’t care? The proverb has it that ‘He’s a fiercely jealous lover.’ And what He gives in love is far better than anything else you’ll find (Message)!”
Most of us have been jealous of someone at one time or another. Usually because of something or someone which came between our relationship with another person. Unfortunately, adultery sometimes occurs in a marriage relationship and jealousy rages, many times destroying that marriage. But did you know it is possible to commit “spiritual” adultery against God? And that it causes Him to burn with jealousy against the other “lover”? If you have accepted Jesus Christ into your life, you have entered into a covenant relationship with God through Him. This means you have made a commitment to be faithful to Him, just as He has committed His faithfulness to you. When that covenant is broken on our part (because He never breaks His), there is an estrangement and an emotional separation which occurs in that relationship. And, just as in a marriage, steps must be taken to restore it. So, what is it that makes God jealous?
God is jealous of anything which is a DISTRACTION to our devotion to Him. What is it you and I are devoted to? How do we spend our time? It’s been said we will make time for what is important to us (ouch)! How big a priority is our time with God? You see, God is passionately pursuing a vital, intimate relationship with us and He is jealous of our relationships with other “lovers” in our lives. Obviously it’s crucial we spend intimate time with our wives / husbands and our children. But we recall the greatest commandment of all is to “love God with all our hearts!“ Matthew 6 reminds us that what we treasure in our hearts will be seen in how we live our lives. Proverbs 4, verse 23, warns us to “guard our hearts” because out of our hearts will flow our life story! So, what kind of activities are keeping us from God? It’s possible to fill our lives with things instead of Him. Remember, God’s jealousy is motivated by a desire to guard us from anything which would distract us from total devotion to Him, and thereby keep us from experiencing life to the fullest measure in Christ.
God is jealous of anything in our lives that we SUBSTITUTE for Him. In Exodus 34, we find God’s commandment, “You shall not worship any other gods!“ What are the “other gods” in our lives? What have we substituted for God? What are we really worshipping? Have we attributed too much worth to the acquiring of money, success, or position? You see, it’s possible to place dependency on things other than God as the source of our joy or provision! And in doing so, we have set up an idol in our life. God revealed Himself to Moses as Yahweh, the great I AM. This name literally meant, and means, “I AM all you need!” Are we depending on our own strength, wisdom or abilities to get us through life? Are we depending on our own business or our employer to meet our needs? Are we depending on another human relationship in our lives to meet all our emotional needs? If so, we have a substitute God in our life! And something else to keep in mind. Oswald Chambers wrote, “the greatest deterrent to devotion to God is our service for Him!” If we’re not careful, even our involvement in ministry can be made into a substitute for knowing Him! There is NO substitute!
Can we say without reservation, “Earth has nothing I desire besides You, Lord (Psalm 73:25)!” Do you truly desire a purity of devotion in your relationship with your Lord and Savior? He jealously desires that kind of relationship with you and me! Let’s not let anything stand in the way!