Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellows Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. Romans 11:13
If I believe that my own flesh poses no threat to my spiritual condition anymore, then I just have to experience how powerful my feelings of jealousy can be. I can be offered something, turn it down because it fails to interest me in the slightest, but change my mind when someone nearby considers it a treasure. I’ll be sorry I refused it.
Jealousy can actually work towards something positive, according to Paul. He hopes that a spotlight will be put upon his ministry to the Gentiles for the purpose of making the Jews take notice in order to arouse their jealousy. They had rejected Christ. He had come to them, called them His own, taught in their synagogues, healed many of their people, but in the end, they rejected him. All He offered, they refused. So, before His ascension back into heaven, Jesus sent His disciples to the ends of the earth and extended salvation to the Gentiles. When the Jews watched them embrace Jesus, watched them worship, even give their lives for the privilege of being His, jealousy began to simmer. This was the plan. God wanted, and still wants, the salvation of the Jews so badly that He’s willing to use jealousy to bring them to embrace His Son.
Can jealousy work like that today? I can turn down a church position but then envy the one who does take it and prospers. I can watch others worship with passion and abandon, decide it’s way too out of the box for me, but then struggle with jealousy over their free spirit. I can be spiritually lazy and take communion without emotion but then envy the ones who seem to tremble over the very word ‘communion’.
The first wake up call is that I still fail to understand the depth of my own sin. But God wants my heart so badly that He will even use my own jealousy of others to woo me. May I know a jealousy that saves!
Jealousy can make me want to hurt the one who has what I want. May it only lead me to You, the One who is everything I want. Amen