Can God make you jealous?!
At one point in my life, I was in love with the reality series, Supernanny. Jo Frost is a short-term nanny who uses various techniques to train children who have been termed ‘difficult’ by their parents.
In one episode, there was a particularly naughty child who always drew negative attention to himself by disrupting the entire household. His parents hardly had time for his other siblings because he was always throwing one tantrum after another. When things didn’t go as he wanted, he would cause such a ruckus, everyone would have to give him what he wanted.
Well, Supernanny was brought on board, and one of the things she did, in addition to other techniques, was to totally ignore him when he was acting spoiled – and focus on the other siblings.
One day, she set up games with the family, and when he started to act up because it wasn’t going his way, she forced him to leave the group.
While he was stood in a corner sulking, she praised his siblings loudly when they did well, laughed at their parents’ antics, made sure everyone ignored him – and had an amazingly good time!
The lad grew jealous of the attention on his siblings and tried to come back into the group – but Jo bluntly told him that if he wanted to join in the fun activities with the family, he had to be good.
He promised to act well, but after sometime, resumed his tantrums.
Supernanny firmly removed him again, ignored him and concentrated on the family.
After consistently doing this for the two-week period she was there – and teaching the parents the same techniques – the little man got the drift.
The jealousy of the attention on his siblings, and his being ignored caused him to sit up – and become better.
Some would argue that it is psychological manipulation. Perhaps – but does God act the same way?
After He specially selected Israel from all nations of the world to be His special people, they started acting up. They took His love and grace for granted and made Him angry by serving other gods.
So, in order to bring them to their senses, He decided to make them jealous by removing the ‘exclusivity’ from them – and extending it to other nations. (Romans 10:19; 11:11)
“But isn’t jealousy a negative emotion?”
Nope. If God can feel jealous, then, trust me, it is a ‘God-ly’ emotion.
But just like every other emotion, how it is used – or managed – is key.
You see, sometimes, the ONLY way God can get the attention of some of us to ‘come up higher’ is to make us ‘jealous’.
He has sent teachers and pastors and ministers your way – and they have spoken and preached and begged you to pray and read the Word and grow into a ‘better Christian’…and you have not listened.
And suddenly, your grossly immoral cousin who has aborted eight times becomes born again – and begins to hold prayer meetings and Bible studies … and you get jealous.
God has been talking to you about getting your finances in order, but you have been too laid-back and lackadaisical – so He orchestrates events, and you meet someone who is much, much younger, extremely focused, has his finances in tip-top shape, owns multiple investments and has a ‘spare’ five million in his account … and you feel jealous.
The Spirit has been nudging you about being more supportive of your spouse’s career/ministry, but you have been uninterested/too busy – then one day, he/she returns home, innocently raving about the three-hour brainstorming/prayer session with their married but attractive/spiritual/intelligent co-worker/assistant pastor … and you get jealous.
I remember a choir where the members could sing beautifully – but all sorts of indiscipline and laxity was going on.
God brought a new leader who was holy, disciplined, anointed – and could sing! I well remember the jealousy of the old members…
As a minister, God says, “Spend more time with me. There are deeper, uncharted territories and higher realms to see”, but you don’t want to go beyond your ankle-length revelations and preparations – so He raises up a ‘nobody’ from ‘nowhere’ who ‘explodes’ and manifests the spiritual in unbelievable dimensions … and you get jealous…
…and the list goes on and on.
Dear reader, God is Pure Love – and the sole purpose of godly jealousy is to Challenge You And Make You ‘Come Up Higher’.
Unfortunately, some of us don’t understand this, so we do one of the following:
(1) We pretend and try to suppress the feelings: “Jealous?! Me?! A ‘chile’ of God?! Of him/her/them?! God forbid!” Or,
(2) We explain it away: “Everybody’s grace is different. I cannot kill myself. There are things I can do that he/she/they cannot do too, so…” Or,
(3) We go the directly-opposite route to the Spirit’s wooing:
Just to prove a point that we are not impressed, we will deliberately not pray – just because the other person is praying. I will drink – just to prove a point. I will not worship – just to prove a point. I will refuse to yield to the Spirit’s desire to change me – just to prove a point.
I was reading the book of Nehemiah recently, and it kept jumping out how disobedience and stubbornness actually stem from pride. (Nehemiah 9:16,29)
(4) We let our jealousy turn to envy: Envy is a deadly, destructive emotion that – bottomline – makes you wish the other person loses what they have. This often leads to the next two points:
(5) We try to bring the people down to our level – and I’ve seen this sooo many times:
People who want to remove the “extra” from your “extraordinary”, or the “super” from your “supernatural”. “Be like us – ordinary and natural.”
It is called the “If We Cannot Go Up, You Must Come Down” Syndrome:
-Immoral school girls secretly envious of their virgin friends – so they try to push them into having sex.
-‘Loved ones’ who deliberately call/visit when they know that’s the time you spend with God or go for fellowship.
-Peers who try to distract you, mock you or make you feel bad so you don’t excel at school/work/ministry.
People who deliberately turn you away from the path God has set you on – like the old prophet in 1Kings13.
If this doesn’t work,
(6) We (try to) destroy the person – with our tongues, actions, and even prayers. Using gossip. Slander. Nuances. Manipulations. Like the Pharisees.
It’s beautiful to note that Nicodemus was also a Pharisee, but unlike the others who killed Jesus out of envy, he was challenged – and became born again.
Do you know that you can legitimately ask God for anything another person has that you genuinely desire?
Do you also know that, sometimes, God, Himself, orchestrates events and puts the desires in your heart – so you realize that “Hey, this is what God really wants for me”?
But, most times, we suppress God-given desires because we feel it’s covetousness/or it’s not Gods will for us/or we don’t see the possibility of it coming to pass in our own lives – and we waste the holy jealousy God is kindling in us to Go Higher.
Don’t do that. Rather, next time you feel that ‘burning’ sensation in the pit of your stomach at someone else’s progress, don’t ignore the flame.
It might just be God.