Jealousy and Envy-Good vs. Bad?

She looked over and saw what she’d hoped not to-Kirk, the guy she liked, was eating dinner and having a serious conversation with her friend Andrea. What Jenn wasn’t, Andrea was. She was beautiful, petite, talented, and witty. Jenn’s stomach sank as she watched them leaning in toward each other as if to listen more intently. Disappointed? yes. Jealous? definitely.

She knew being jealous was wrong “but,” she wondered, “how can you reconcile 1 Corinthians 13:4, especially the “love envieth not part, with what I read in my devos today?” She flipped open to Exodus 34:14 and reread “for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, who’s name is jealous, is a jealous God.” I’m told not to envy, but God’s allowed to be jealous?

Jenn wonders something very valid: does God contradict Himself here? Let’s define terms first because they both deal with desire:

Jealousy: a desire to protect what you have or assume you have.

Envy: a resentful desire-desiring what someone else has.

We see Asaph struggling with these emotions in one of my favorite Psalms-Psalm 73. In verses 4-5,12, you see envy distorting his thinking. All of a sudden, he desires what the evil people have-prosperity. Their lives just get better while he does right and gets nothing for it. But, like many of the Psalms and their authors, Asaph learns to think like God does. In verses 18-20, he sees how he was wrong. Prosperity is temporary, and God’s judgment on sin is consistent, just not on our time table. Then, in the most beloved part of the Psalm, Asaph takes that desire and refocuses it vertically. It’s only then that he realizes that he’s got everything that he needs! 

Remember, God is a jealous God because He’s protecting what He already owns-us! He’s not okay with us flirting with idols like the snooze button, social lives, and entertainment that take away from our time with Him. What if we had the right kind of desire? What if we were jealous the way God is jealous?

It isn’t that we are too jealous, it’s that we aren’t jealous enough.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jules
    Mar 07, 2009 @ 11:50:57

    great, an awesome thought for the day! thanks girl:)


  2. RaiulBaztepo
    Mar 29, 2009 @ 03:56:40

    Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
    PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language 😉
    See you!
    Your, Raiul Baztepo


  3. Maverick
    May 05, 2009 @ 06:16:40

    Good post, interesting thoughts for sure.


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