by Bishop O.W. Prince
There are two types of jealousies. There is godly jealousy whereby there is intense zeal or fervor over something dear to us. In fact, both the Old and New Testament words for jealousy are also translated “zeal.” Being jealous and being zealous is essentially the same thing in the Bible. God is zealous—eager about protecting what is precious to Him. (Exodus 20:4-5) God wants what is His: the exclusive devotion of His people. And it is only right and good that He should. We should likewise jealously seek after God our creator and the spiritual riches which are ours in Christ Jesus. This is godly Zeal.
Then there is the type of jealousy referred to as envy. This is when godly jealousy or zeal has degenerated into something contrary to God. It is a twisted perversion of righteous zeal. It is a feeling of displeasure over the blessings others are enjoying and it makes us want to deprive them of that enjoyment. God is not capable of experiencing this type of sinful jealousy. However, as human beings born into sin and shaped by iniquity, we may experience this type of jealousy easily and with little provocation.
Another version of sinful jealousy may be understood as covetous admiration. This is when one admires another’s fortunes, status, talents, gifts or possessions to such an extent that they develop and express an excessive desire to have them for themselves. In actuality They are conflicted within themselves. They admire the other person openly but they secretly envy them as well. Those who experience this type of jealousy usually becomes dissatisfied with their own fortunes, status, talents, gifts and possessions and viciously and surreptitiously seek to injure and criticize those whom they are jealous of and rob them of their possessions, status, honor, respect and positive public image.
Sinfully jealous people are folks who don’t really like themselves or others.
Sadly, I have observed this spiritual illness in some of our churches and among a lot of our pastors. But this behavior and this emotion should not be found or tolerated in the Church (body of Christ). Yet, it is becoming more and more prevalent in today’s Christian churches and among today’s contemporary preachers than ever before. I personally can attest to the viciousness, self-centeredness and sinful depravity of some jealous folks in the church – folks who, because of jealousy, irrevocably killed the pastoral career of several promising pastors while chasing would-be church members away.
I am convinced that if the congregants and the pastors of some of these jealous, self-minded churches were genuinely saved – born-again according to God’s anointed plan of salvation (John 3:3-7 and Acts 2:38) – that they would learn through obedience to God’s Word and through the revelation of the Holy Spirit to love like God loves and have a zeal for His righteousness.
God wants us to have the same jealousy (zeal) toward each other as He has toward us – to be jealous for one another’s best interests. Paul said that Epaphras felt that way toward his Christian friends at Colossae: “For I bear him record, that he hath a great zeal for you, and them that are in Laodicea, and them in Hierapolis” (Colossians 4:13). His jealousy for them led him to pray for them daily.
If we are truly saved and endowed with God’s Holy Spirit we would share God’s jealousy for other saints of God, we would be busily engaged in intercessory prayer, faithfully bringing their needs to God’s attention. Our prayer lives would not be wholly occupied with our own problems or wants, but we would beseech God on behalf of the specific needs of others in the body of Christ. Instead of praying to be blessed better than others, we would pray that others be saved and blessed better than they already are.
Paul said, “For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2). Apostle Paul had promised the converts at Corinth to Christ, their spiritual bridegroom, and it was his desire to present them to their husband as a pure bride, untainted with the distorted doctrine of those false apostles. For that reason, he faithfully taught them the truth at great personal sacrifice and encouraged them to submit to it.
If we shared God’s jealousy for others, if we had divine zeal dwelling within us, we would want what is best for others and rejoice in others successes, accomplishments, talents, gifts, possessions and status. We would consider others better than ourselves. (Philippians 2:3) If we were filled with godly jealousy, we would pattern our lives after Christ in the hope that others would see Christ in us and seek after Him. If we cared about others with the sacrificial love of God, we would seek to encourage one another and build each other up as opposed to being sinfully jealous of each other and tearing each other down. If we are truly filled with the Holy Spirit of God, we would zealously seek to please God and share the Eternal Truths of His Gospel of Salvation.