Good Jealousy

Good Jealousy

Paul writes in Romans 11:11,13, “Salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous.  Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order to somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them”.  Paul believed in a good type of jealousy.  It is when people see how great it is to follow and trust Christ that they become jealous and desire to have what we have.  Thus, we have this great opportunity to share Christ.
That is pretty convicting, if you think about it and allow the Holy Spirit to kick you in the seat of the pants with it. I have been pretty vocal, to whoever will listen, that I am pretty much done with winter.  We had our one snow and I would be completely happy if we do not have another one this year.  I complain about people who struggle to drive in the snow and hold up traffic.   My toes hurt from cysts in my feet, my hips hurt from arthritis, my eyes aren’t so great, and I am a few pounds overweight.  All that is bad enough, but the worst part is that I am not afraid to whine to people about those things.  I affirm the truth that, “Misery loves company”.  It has to be in the Bible somewhere.  As I read this passage, the Spirit spoke to my heart, “Who in their right mind would be jealous of you?”
I love Jesus and am forever grateful for his amazing grace, undeserved mercy, forgiveness of my sin and his awesome answers to my prayers. Just this past Sunday I was whining (there is that theme again) to God and he beautifully answered my whines with such goodness that my heart was overwhelmed.  Truly, what do I have to whine about?  I am not unhappy or dissatisfied with life... so why do I whine?  I suppose it is part of a process I have developed to get things out in the open so they do not build up in my mind.  When they build up in my thoughts they get bigger and so, like a release valve, I let them fly into the wind, which must bum others out.  They are not jealous of me but simply feel sorry for my wife.  To be honest, my process stinks.  I remember going cliff diving in college and as we climbed the cliff I just kept mumbling about how high it was, hope we don’t slip, hope the water is deep enough, etc.  Finally my friend told me to shut up. He said that even though all of them were thinking the same things, they didn’t need to hear them out loud.  So, while for me it was somewhat therapeutic, for them it was it was bumming them out.  My process at work.  Again, no one was jealous of me.
We need to be living, and I am preaching to myself, in ways that exalt the work and character of Jesus.  People need to look at our lives and develop a jealousy about what we have.  That cannot happen if all they hear is about the troubles we face or how much we would change our lives.  It is not that we cannot share what is bothering us or what is painful in our lives, it is that we must always do so in light of the many Scripture passages that put these things in perspective.  If we have no solutions to what we are struggling with then how are we any different from those who do not know Christ?  But if Jesus truly makes our lives purposeful, peaceful, and full of joy...then we need to share that.  That is not putting a positive spin on things, it is not burying our heads in the sand, it is living the truth of the blessings of God out in our lives.
Ever meet someone who has had a huge health scare and was healed?  Or someone who has won the lottery (even just $100.00)?  You cannot get ten minutes into any conversation before they some how weave their good fortune into the conversation.  Why?  Because, to them, that bit of good news helped redefine their life.  They truly are lucky people.  They do not simply receive bad news.  Sometimes, things go well for them.  You know where I am going with this.  Our lives, as believers, have truly been changed.  They have been turned upside down and we have been recreated to receive the greatest blessings known to man.  Heaven is beyond human description.  No eye has seen, nor ear has heard what is in store for us.  We know, personally, the creator of the universe.  We are so closely united with Christ that the Bible continually uses the phrase, “in him”. How can we truly be having a bad day?  
Listen, Proverbs warns us, “ Whoever blesses his neighbor with a loud voice, rising early in the morning, will be counted as cursing”.   Walking around being loud, singing “Que, Sera, Sera” is not what we are talking about.  We need to be real and sensitive to what others are going through.  But our reality places our lives into a different perspective because of the miracle Jesus has performed in our life. We need that reality to shine forth more.  At least I do.  My life is amazing and totally fulfilled, I need to live it out that way so that people want what I have.  Jesus.

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