Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? (James 4:4–5)
Much of the time, as far as human beings are concerned, jealousy is a nasty thing. The color green does not look good on us, as Scripture confirms (Ps. 106:16; Acts 7:9) Yet the biblical writers never once describe God’s jealousy this way.
God’s jealousy is altogether different than most human jealousy.
Human beings tend to be jealous of what belongs to another (Ex. 20:17). When we catch a bad case of the have-nots, insecurity consumes us. God, on the other hand, is jealous for what rightfully belongs to Him. His jealousy arises, not out of insecurity, but out of flawless self-knowledge that to Him alone belong all worship and devotion.
Because God is perfectly self-aware, He commands and desires our worship.
To be ambivalent about our worship would be a denial of who He is, and “He cannot deny Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13). He must, as James says, yearn jealously over us; His righteousness depends on it.
For our part, we must not provoke Him to jealousy.
James calls us to do this by repenting of worldliness, so that we can devote ourselves wholeheartedly to friendship with God. Each of us must do this thoroughly and decisively. Our hearts are so easily captured by what the world offers. And if we are not repenting of worldliness, our attentiveness to the things of God will be truncated and we will miss out on the fullness of His presence.
So as we prepare to gather on Sunday, let us wholeheartedly turn back to the God who, for all the right reasons, yearns to be regarded as our first love (Rev. 2:4).
FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION:
- In what areas of life do you find your heart being drawn away from God by the things of this world? Money, pleasure, success, acclaim—such things, while not necessarily wrong in themselves, can disrupt our friendship with God. As the Holy Spirit points out a specific area, offer a prayer of repentance. Tell God you’re sorry for allowing anything to become more important than your relationship with Him. Acknowledge the righteousness of His jealousy over you and pray that His love would make you wholehearted in serving and worshiping Him each day.
- How has worldliness dampened your love for God’s people? None of us loves our brothers and sisters in Christ as we ought. We often allow self-protective apathy, consumeristic tendencies, or prideful attitudes to get in the way. Ask that God would make you ready to love and serve the people of LifePoint as we gather this Sunday. Pray that He would reveal specific ways that you can be a blessing to your church family.
- Knowing that God is jealous for our full affection, how might your participation in gathered worship encourage others to participate?
Set List for Sunday, February 03, 2019:
- Hallelujah! What a Savior (Your Love Has Rescued Me) (P. Bliss, M. Carter, A. Ivey, H. Suh)
- You Never Change (M. Dawes, A. Ivey, J. Reeves)
- More to Come (J. Ingram, K. Stanfill, P. Wickham, B. Younker)
- Singing in The Victory (M. Dawes, B. Land, A. Ivey, J. McCreary, L. Walter, D. Schmidt)
- Heart Abandoned (S. Curran, K. Stanfill)