You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says to no purpose, “He jealously desires the Spirit whom He has made to dwell in us”? James 4:4-5
Our desire to be a friend to the world gets in the way of our relationship with God. His Spirit is jealous for us.
Oxford Language defines jealous as
- feeling or showing envy of someone or their achievements and advantages.
- feeling or showing suspicion of someone’s unfaithfulness in a relationship.
- fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions.
- (of God) demanding faithfulness and exclusive worship.
I am blessed in that neither my husband nor I is really the jealous type. Not that we haven’t had our moments in the past thirty years, but it is usually quickly resolved. In counseling, I often see a lot of unhealthy relationships with jealousy at its core. To me, jealousy stems from a lack of trust. A lot of the people I work with are single, and in a dating relationship. They are working with me to try to justify staying in a relationship, despite the lack of trust, hoping it will change. While they have to come to their own decision, I have never understood the desire to be in a relationship where there is no trust.
I understand when people are married. When trust is broken, there is still a covenant or vows in place. Spouses should try to rebuild trust and repair the relationship. With God’s help, repentance, and work, marriages where trust has been broken can be restored.
God has every reason to be jealous with us. He has many reasons not to trust us. A lot of the time, we treat our covenant relationship with Him as if we are in a less than casual dating relationship. We get excited by the enticements oft he world. We turn our attention to the world and away from Him, repeatedly.
When I think about God being jealous in relationship to me, I immediately think why would I not give Him all my affection? What if I were to be fiercely protective and vigilant of my relationship with Him? What if I truly was faithful and exclusive in my worship of Him? I don’t like to consider that I worship anyone or anything else, but whatever I honor and devote my time to has my worship.
It is easy to play off that I have this amazing relationship with God. He is amazing. However, I am not. When my husband and I first started dating, I think about the efforts I made to connect with him. I know my efforts towards my relationship with God often fail in comparison. I used to call my husband (then boyfriend) every day on a break at school to talk with him before he left for work. I would then wait around at home for him to call me on his break. I did whatever I could to spend as much time with him as possible. I was vigilant to make it happen. I was fiercely protective of our time together. I would not have settled for talking to someone else who had spent time with him, I wanted my own time with him. Although after thirty years it looks a little different, I still want to spend time with him and make every effort for us to have time to connect and special extended and focused time together.
I should be that same way with God. I spend time with Him daily, but I know at times I allow myself to be distracted. I trail off in thought or attention when I am in the Word or praying instead of giving Him my undivided attention. There are times that I don’t give Him the time or attention that He deserves. At times, I have settled for someone else spending time with Him and just getting the highlights of their time with Him (in a service or online message). I know I should not allow those messages to take the place of my time with Him; rather it should supplement our time together. I don’t want to leave God with reason to feel suspicious of my faithfulness to Him. I want Him to know that I am faithful and worship Him alone.
Prayer – Lord, forgive me for times where I have allowed friendship with the world to take the place of my relationship with You. I repent for letting anything get in the way or distract me from my personal time with You. I want to be found faithful to You and You alone (and my husband). I recognize Your desire for relationship with me and want to have that same desire for You. Grow it in me Holy Spirit for I know as I draw near to You, You will also draw near to me.
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