Is God Jealous?
James 4:5 He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.
In my daily efforts at turning from self and focusing on God, I often become focused or consumed with the defects of self. I suppose it is a primary defect that I always make everything about me. I have a close friend however, who occasionally has to gently remind me that this walk is always about God. I may focus on me, but my primary goal in this walk is not sobriety, humility, love, peace, joy or success. Those are all fine goals, but the one thing that I need to seek above all, is God himself.
God certainly does use our pain, need and defect to drive us to him, but freedom from our defect is not our ultimate prize. If all I want is to fit into skinnier jeans, there have got to be easier ways to go about it than following God. If however, I truly want to be free from slavery to myself, then I need to pursue God above all.
The entirety of the Bible is to point me to a right relationship with my creator. God made me and He made the spirit that dwells in me. He has gone to great lengths to bring my spirit into right relationship with his and He intensely desires that I dwell forever in that right relationship. My life will always exist in a state of discomfort and disequilibrium when I am pursuing anything except that right condition.
That so many of us continue to choose to live outside of this relationship explains much of the pain and misery in our world and in our churches. God made us to dwell in an intensely intimate relationship with him and when we do not pursue that, we by default, pursue self and subsequently wreak destruction and pain.
You shall have no other gods before me (Exodus 20:3). It is no accident that God started out the Ten Commandments identifying the proper orientation of our lives. He is a jealous God that longs for us to love him and to pursue him. We may chafe at the idea that God is jealous as we find it a petty sentiment, but we cannot escape the reality that God is to be our above-all purpose. For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God (Deuteronomy 4:24).
Just as it is a right duty for a husband and wife to live in a mutually committed relationship, free from infidelity, it is ours to live in desperate commitment to our jealous God. He made us and we were made for him. We may pursue good things in life, sobriety, freedom, joy, peace, but our primary purpose is to love and be loved by our creator.