I grew up being taught that jealousy is wrong.
The first time I remember learning this lesson was in preschool. Another kid brought a yo-yo to school and was playing with it during recess. I thought it looked like fun, so I grabbed it out of his hand. Of course, he didn’t like that, so we got into a shoving match.
When the teacher on recess duty came over to separate us, she asked why I took the yo-yo from out of his hand. I said, “Because the classroom rules state that we are supposed to share.” I guess I was taking it upon myself to help my friend keep the rule!
The teacher sat me down and explained that I was dealing with jealousy. She said that jealousy is wanting what belongs to somebody else.
Jealousy, as I was taught, was a bad thing.
So you can understand how surprised I was the first time I read 2 Corinthians 11:2: “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.”
If jealousy is such a bad thing, why is the apostle Paul not ashamed to admit that he is jealous?
The answer lies in the reason why it is wrong for humans to be jealous in the first place. Jealousy is always based upon wanting what does not belong to us. But it is different for God because everything belongs to Him. The Bible refers to God as jealous –not as a negative attribute, but instead as a positive attribute. Why? Because He deserves all glory, honor, and praise from every living being.
Ultimately, the reason it is good for God to be jealous is the same reason it is wrong for us to be jealous.
In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul is very clear that his jealousy is a “godly jealousy.” In other words, Paul isn’t jealous for himself, but instead, Paul is jealous on behalf of God. His desire is for God to receive the honor, glory and praise from the lives of the Corinthians.
Now that’s a great kind of jealousy! In fact, I think more of us need to be jealous like that.
Do you have a godly jealousy for your neighbors? What about your children? Are you jealous for God to get all the glory from your finances? Are you jealous on God’s behalf for your church?
I think its time to be jealous!