Have you ever been provoked to jealousy? When I first think of the word “jealousy” I think of something that needs to be quenched, done away with, or removed from me. It connotes a lack of harmony and inner turmoil. On the surface, it’s something I just want to get past, but like any emotion—toxic or otherwise—it points to something deeper. For this reason, jealousy is a gift in the spiritual realm.
There are heroes of the faith and anointed individuals who have wisdom, understanding of truth, and relationship with God that often provoke me to jealousy. There are people you can read about and personal writings you can study from these people that display a closeness with God that stirs up something in my spirit to yearn and pine for my own experience of closeness with God. It causes something in me to refuse to settle for a life lived less than near to God. It makes me jealous.
Some may decide that this restless feeling needs to be removed and do all they can to suppress it and say that it is gone, but that’s not healthy. Jealousy should provoke you to action. The blessing of jealousy is that, when channeled properly, it is not a dead end race—it is the beginning of the pursuit, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7) Jealousy is the beginnings of hunger pangs, and to hunger for God is a blessing. If you do not hunger, you will never know true satisfaction.
This is also the beauty of God’s expansiveness: there is so much of Him that the more we know, the more we are awakened to the increasing depths of Who He is. Spiritual hunger increases with the knowledge of God as does our experience of satisfaction.
Sometimes we are awakened to the reality of our own parched state. The landscape of our soul is dry and barren: then we hear of the deep things of God in and through the life of another. We are provoked to jealousy for their flourishing land. The hope in this situation is that you don’t have to conquer the territory of another to have it for yourself: God will meet you in your own land and bring you to flourish in your own walk. All you have to do is ask Him to.
I’ve been hearing a lot of messages lately about God’s love. God’s love. God’s affection. As one speaker put it, the word love is used so much that it fails to impact us the way it should when used in regard to the way God feels about us. God is affectionate toward us. Affectionate. Yet even this word seems dead to me, or I to it. Should that move me to cry to God for a heart that can respond to Him? In some small way, it does. Maybe if I start asking, that desire will grow.
I want, as Mike Bickle said in a message at IHOP, a heart that is fascinated by God. The most important thing in life has got to be the knowledge of God. The knowledge of God is the experience of Him in all of the ways that He expresses His identity. He is Jehovah-Rapha, Jehovah-Nissi, Jehovah-Jireh, Adonai, Elohim, El-Shaddai, El-Elyon. He is Healer, Provider, Father, Redeemer, Lover, Friend, and King. He is wonderful, majestic, awesome, active, compassionate, holy, and beautiful. I want the knowledge of this God and knowledge to the full.
Right now, I am learning to experience God as “the God who is for me.” Somehow in all my time walking with God, I have failed to truly consider Him as “for me,” but somehow saw Him as “indifferent to me.” But the Bible says that God is for us, and very passionately so! As Ben Woodward says in a prayer from His Proclamation and Confession workbook, “But today I stare into the truth of Your word and declare that You loved me with such a great love that You ransacked heaven on my behalf and sent Your Son to save me!” (Proclamation and Confession workbook, page 55) I am aware that there is great power in this truth, but my heart can’t seem to connect with it. But I want to. I have no choice but to keep pressing in and proclaiming the truth until God releases to me the understanding of it. Father, reveal to me the knowledge of God!
Have you ever been in a place where you’re overwhelmed by a deluge of truth? It’s like the facts of life are rolling in today and I realize how much I just need to trust God. Thank You, Jesus for opening my eyes.
I feel like I have been given new information on my immediate future. It’s information that is hard to accept joyfully, because on the one hand, it reinforces the fact that I might not be coming back to school in the Fall. On the other hand, it is information that I do joyfully accept because it makes it so much easier for me to let go of the situation and trust that God has my back. He is my rearguard, defending me from the enemy behind me and tying up all of the loose ends in life situations where I feel things have been left unresolved. God is so good. Thank You, Jesus for protecting me.
So where does this leave me? I am free to live alive. I am free to pursue the gifts and abilities that God has given me. I am free to drink from the fountain of joy that bubbles up in this lowest place. Thank You, Jesus for giving me joy.