Is There a Time to Be Jealous?

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Dear Mike,

I am seeking the Truth about the matter of Godly jealousy and welcome your correction and counsel. I think the issue is more internal within me, given my history of extreme competitiveness, rather than a “systemic” issue. I also have been the recipient of envy from physical family.

This rumination within gets provoked with statements made in the fellowship when brethren share wonderful gifts and talents, the most obvious example of which is music. The people share their gifts with the body (which the Lord wants us to do), and they rightfully receive encouragement, and gratitude is given to God.

What I am having difficulty understanding is when I hear statements such as, “Wow, nice song…I am jealous with Godly jealousy.”

Yes, we are commanded to:

1Co 12:31 But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

This is from one of your articles on zeal:

“Zeal produces “godly jealousy” toward the Christ of Christ.

2Co 11:2 For I am jealous [Greek: zeloo, zealous, fervent] over you with godly jealousy [Greek: zelos, zeal]: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
2Co 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Are we careful to be faithful to our espoused husband and to those with whom He identifies Himself, or is it more important to us to please men?”

It looks like in 2 Co 11:2-3 that Godly jealousy is provoked in the Christ when someone in the fellowship is in danger of having their minds corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

It seems like that scripture is taken out of context when used in those situations I mentioned. I also see it used when people share their fellowship opportunities by posting pictures and the like….and receive responses like “I am jealous with Godly jealousy”….

There is also matter of provoking jealousy.

1Co 10:21  Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
1Co 10:22  Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?(G3863) are we stronger than he?

Here, G3863 jealousy is used in the context of “exciting a rivalry” by having fellowship with devils.

Rom 11:11 (KJV+)I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. G3863

What I think people might be expressing instead of “Godly jealousy” is this:

Heb 10:24 (KJV+) And let us consider one another to provoke unto G1519G3948 love and to good  works:

Here provoke is G3948:

Hi M____,

Thank you once again for your very good observations and your obvious desire to know the mind of Christ. I very much appreciate all the effort you have put into sharing this with me, and I pray I will be granted to apply what you have revealed to me here.

Like you, I can see where we might indeed be giving the adversary an opportunity to take advantage of us when we compare ourselves among ourselves and become jealous in a carnal way of how some brothers and sisters get to travel and fellowship while we must stay home and work every day.

I honestly do not believe that is the motive for most of the comments we get, but it certainly could become just that if the Lord does not remind us:

2Co 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

God has given us to emphasize the sovereignty of God to the extent that I pray we know that our circumstances are all His work, and we therefore have no reason to envy others for what He is doing in their lives. Any understanding that is not according to the Truth can easily be used by the Lord through the adversary to trip us up.

So thank you again, for sharing this with me.

Your brother in the Christ,


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