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10/2/08

Jealousy!

Are You For or Are You Of?


Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement flame.
Song of Solomon 8:6

New Christians may be puzzled when they read in the Ten Commandments that "the Lord your God, [is] a jealous God" (Exodus 20:5). "I thought jealousy was a bad thing. How can a good God have a bad trait like jealousy?" they wonder. It's a good question—with a good answer.

You can be jealous for or of. To be jealous for someone is a good thing. To be jealous of someone is a bad thing. And that determination is made by whose interests you have at heart. If you are jealous for another person, that means you want the best for them. You want to protect them and love them, which explains why God is a jealous God: He is jealous for us because He loves us so much. But if you are jealous of someone, you have your own self-interest at heart; you love yourself more than you love another person. And that's a bad thing. Instead of being jealous of another's success, for instance, you should be rejoicing with them (Romans 12:15).

If you are jealous, make sure you are jealous for, not jealous of. If you love the way God loves, your jealousy will be like His.

The jealousy of God is nothing else but the vehemence and ardor of his paternal love.
John Calvin





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