Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Day 8: Love is not Jealous

Love is a strong as death, it jealousy unyielding as the grave. it burns like blazing fire.---Song of Solomon 8:6

Jealousy comes from the root word zeal and means "to burn with an intense fire." There are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy. Legitimate jealousy sparks when someone you love, who belongs to you, turns his or her heart away and replaces you with someone else.

The Bible describes God has having this kind of righteous jealousy for His people. It's not that He is envious of us, wishing He had what we have (since He already owns everything). It's that He deeply longs for us, desiring for us to keep Him as our first love. He doesn't want us to let anything take precedence over Him in our hearts. The Bible warns us not to worship anything but Him because "the Lord your God is a consuming fire, is a jealous God" (Deuteronomy 4:24).

With this established, we will shift our focus to the illegitimate kind of jealousy that is in opposition to love---the one that is rooted in selfishness. This is to be jealousy of someone, to be "moved with envy."

Jealousy is a common struggle. It is sparked when someone else upstages you and gets something you want. This can be very painful depending on how selfish you are. If you're not careful, jealousy slithers like a viper into your heart and strikes your motivations and relationships. It can poison you from living the life of love God intended.

You don't usually get jealous of disconnected strangers. The ones you're tempted to be jealous of are primarily in the same arena with you. They work in your office, play in your league, run in your circles...or live in your house. Yes, if you aren't careful, jealousy can also infect your marriage.

When you are married, you are given the role of becoming your spouse's biggest cheerleader and the captain of his or her fan club. Both of you became one and were to share in the enjoyment of the other. But if selfishness rules, any good thing happening to only one of you can be a catalyst for envy rather than congratulations.

He may be enjoying golf on the weekend while she stays home cleaning the house. He boasts to her about shooting a great score and she feels like shooting him. A loving husband doesn't mind his wife being better at something, having more fun, or getting more applause. He sees her as completing him, not competing with him. A loving wife will be the first to cheer for her man when he wins. She does not compare her weaknesses to his strengths. She throws a celebration, not a pity party.

It is time to let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart. It's time to let your mate's successes draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love.

Today's Dare
Determine to become your spouse's biggest fan and to reject any thoughts of jealousy. To help you set you heart on your spouse and focus on their achievements, take yesterday's list of negative attributes and discreetly burn it. Them share with your spouse how glad you are about a success he or she recently enjoyed.

***I made the lists. I have not smiled as big as I did making the positive list in a while. I loved writing down everything I loved about Zach. All the things that I see in him that make me know I made the right choice. I was so happy and it came so easily. But then I started the negative list and, no joke, my face completely changed; I felt awful. I hated writing down the things I didn't like about him and I hated more how easy it was for me to think of them...because I know the things I don't like about him well. But the good far outweigh the bad and the way I felt writing the good, felt so much better than writing the bad.


Kaitlin said...

do you recognize the Bible verse at the top?...Did you choose that or did it come from the book?

Rebecca said...

it came with the book. I will have to give it to you when I get done so you can jot down the ones you like.