September 12, 2011

Not always a monster . . .

It is called the “green-eyed monster” because this thing has caused resentment, rivalry, fighting, relationship problems and breakups, even wars between countries. But jealousy has two faces. It is not always the bad guy or a monster at all, but a good thing. Jealousy can produce a fiercely protective desire for others, or a deep desire for what is good and right.

Consider God who says,  ". . . for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God . . ." (Exodus 34:14). God has no sin in His jealousy. It is there for us, not for Himself.

Sometimes the words of Spurgeon’s devotional readings are perfect. He has a way of getting to my heart as a mouthpiece for God, using words that resonate with what I know is true. Today is one of those days.

Your Lord is very jealous of your love . . . Did He choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another. Did He buy you with his own blood? He cannot endure that you should think that you are your own, or that you belong to this world. He loves you with such a love that He would not stop in heaven without you. He would sooner die than you should perish. He cannot endure that anything should stand between your heart’s love and himself.
My heart melts at this jealous love of God. How can anyone resist a love that is so intense, so eager to give Himself for me? Spurgeon adds more.
He is very jealous of your trust. He will not permit you to trust in an arm of flesh. He cannot bear that you should hew out broken cisterns, when the overflowing fountain is always free to you. When we lean upon Him, He is glad, but when we transfer our dependence to another, when we rely upon our own wisdom, or the wisdom of a friend — worst of all, when we trust in any works of our own, He is displeased, and will chasten us that He may bring us to himself.
God knows that trusting Him is the best thing that can happen to us. He alone can take care of us the right way, and in a way that no other can. When we trust Him, we see amazing answers to prayer, even miracles performed on our behalf. How can I trust anything or anyone else?
He is also very jealous of our company. There should be no one with whom we converse so much as with Jesus. To abide in Him only, this is true love, but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with Him is grievous to our jealous Lord.
Sometimes I am in a crowd and feel a deep sense of being alone. Billy Graham says this is God crooking His finger at me, bidding me to talk to Him. From this I’ve learned that prayer does not have to be in a secret place or a closet. He is beside me all the time, wanting my attention, knowing what He can do for me if I will just give my heart and my ears to Him. 
He is pleased to have us abide in Him, and enjoy constant fellowship with Himself. Many of the trials which He sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from (all else) and fixing them more closely upon Himself. Let this jealousy which would keep us near to Christ be also a comfort to us, for if He loves us so much as to care like this about our love, we may be sure that He will allow nothing to harm us, and will protect us from all our enemies.
The trials of life are just that — His goodness drawing me away from selfishness and worldly things. Imagine what a world without trials would be like. I know I would have nothing to bring me up short, nothing to show me how proud and self-centered I am, nothing to change me or make me humble and able to trust the Lord.
God, I pray for grace to keep my heart totally yielded and committed to You. Give me that same attitude toward You that desires nothing else but to be taken up with Your love and Your relationship with me. Shut my eyes to all else and keep me focused and dependent on You, remembering that because You are a jealous God, You will do anything to keep me in Your loving care.

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