One of the bible verses I think I’ve seen most placed in people’s homes and shared so widely is 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. The version I’ve seen repeatedly goes something like this…
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
That translation isn’t even remotely close to the older texts. In fact the word “jealousy” isn’t even in the NIV version of the Bible, yet somehow it’s been added in all of the prints of this text regurgitated in images and household gifts – mainstream quotes. The Lord showed me a few weeks ago the importance of the power of jealousy. And in knowing that God is LOVE, I try so often to frame up in my own thoughts of what LOVE means. We have an almighty, all-knowing, all-capable, all-powerful God that created mankind for HIS glory. And then we have a history of mankind betraying God for it’s own desires and self exaltation. And somewhere in the middle of this it seems we’ve adopted as a people, the idea that God has changed… that God no longer requires all of our hearts and that God no longer is in the business of destruction, chastisement and ultimately wanting what HE wants. It’s become all about us – what we want.. what we desire… our happiness… our comfort… our accomplishments and works. I feel like we keep ripping the pen right out of Jesus’ hands to place God in a box that makes sense to our carnal minded desires and to shape the Almighty I AM into a character that makes us feel good about our lack of reverence to the one who made us with a purpose that has little to do with us and everything to do with him.
In the book of Exodus, it says the Lord’s NAME IS JEALOUS. And throughout the Bible God’s Jealousy is discussed – as a warning of sorts. It’s says HE is a jealous God and His jealousy is what provokes Him to anger. In Deuteronomy it says if our Jealous God’s anger is kindled against us it will wipe us off the face of the earth.
I talk a lot about Fear of the Lord because I’ve been shown that it’s a life or death matter, eternally. He loves us but HE’s NOT PLAYING WITH US! And it’s so important that we stop playing a game with Him.
When I look at my relationship with the Lord, I’m ashamed. There’s no candy-coating the fact that I adopted and bought into a modernized drive-thru version of Christianity. A religion that justifies the evidence of Christ in our lives for the most part by one simple factor… Do you attend church on Sundays? And that “membership” with a place and a people solidifies in our minds a commitment to Godly living. It’s the pattern of society that’s found in virtually every part of our lives today. We don’t have time to make meals so order food through a window. We don’t have time for family so we designate days and call them “vacations” to make memories and make-up for the loss of our relationships that are held captive by our busy schedules. We don’t need get-togethers and face to face human interaction, we’ve supplemented relationships with social media – tagging Grandma in pictures instead of visiting our loved ones regularly. And in all this transition that we’ve been forced into for the most part, our relationship with the Lord has been captured by the same type of convenience that suits our busy lifestyles. Why read the word, why pray, why work out our own salvation with trembling and why battle for a personal relationship with God when we can simply attend an hour sermon once a week and employ someone else to tell us who we are, why we’re here and what our Creator thinks, feels and demands or holds lack-of-demand in relationship to us.
Jealousy is one of the most powerful emotions known to mankind, when it stems from Love, (which is a very different thing from envy, which stems from self-desire, not love). There’s only one time in my life that I’ve actually feared my husband – been afraid of what he might do… it came from jealousy. A perfectly sound person (if there is such a thing), when in love with another, can be moved by anger that roars like a raging fire to when jealousy is ignited. You can say that’s crazy if you want to but if you’ve ever really loved someone, you probably have felt the fire of jealousy at one point or another.
So here we are, smiling and clapping our hands once a week, shouting “amen” to ideas we haven’t even fact-checked by the Holy Spirit that’s available to all who will seek God with all their hearts. We’re passionate about the Lord but we put him on the back-burner and trade-off conviction and heart-changing revelation for motivational speeches and encouraging uplift meetings. We speak of the blood of Jesus like it’s a free pass to live for this world, be conformed by this world, to love this world and even convince ourselves this world is home and will never perish. Jesus made it clear HE IS NOT OF THIS WORLD and this world WILL PASS AWAY. This world did not accept Christ. The ways of this world and the systems of this world were exalted above the Son of God and out of envy this world crucified Him and rejected his ways…. and nothing has changed under the sun.
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.
I pray today that we will fight against everything of this world that misleads us, consumes our minds and belittles the presence of God in our hearts. I pray that we will WAKE UP and stop listening to mankind and the empty teachings that tickle our ears but do not pour truth into our hearts – that we remember the words of Jesus as he prayed that HIS PEOPLE would be set apart and sanctified – and that the Lord would give us understanding that anything that looks like the world, talks like the world and agrees with the world is NOT OF JESUS, who is NOT OF this world. I pray that we see the Love of God as the consuming fire HE IS and find heartfelt reverence to His name and the sacrifice of His Son dying for us, with a burning desire to live and die for him. I pray that we turn away from ideologies, doctrines and man made theories and seek the Lord for truth, while it can be found. And I pray that the Fear of the Lord, which is the beginning of understanding will convict us, teach us and change us into a people that turn away from the corruption of our flesh and the lies that glorify the flesh, to seek the face of the Living God who loves us and is jealous for us and demands reverence to HIS WILL – the God who is and was and will always be on the throne of all of creation.