Are You Jealous for God, or Jealous of God?
It’s one of the most insidious sins you and I deal with. It worms its way into our hearts and robs us of joy and freedom and contentment. But if we can root it out… the result is liberating!
I’m talking about jealousy. It’s a deadly sin that most of us cover up, spin away from, and just really don’t deal with. And we rarely, if ever, confess it.
One of the most famous examples of jealousy comes from the story of Cain and Abel.
Genesis 4:8 tells us how Cain and Abel both brought offerings to God, and that God was pleased with Abel’s offering, but He rejected Cain’s.
Cain talked to his brother Abel; and it happened that when they were in the field Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him.Genesis 4:8
Interestingly enough, both brothers demonstrated jealousy—but one was jealous of God, the other was jealous for God.
What’s the difference?
It has to do with whom you worship. Yourself or God. You see, the truth is that God is a jealous God. But it’s a righteous jealousy. He’s the One True God, the only One. And He will not accept competition.
Abel understood this and submitted to God, offering the first and best of his flocks to the God of the universe. Cain, on the other hand, wanted to be in control.
He wanted to decide what was best, so he brought God fruits and vegetables rather than the blood sacrifice that was required. And God rejected it.
Cain wanted to come to God on his own terms. Abel went to God with a broken, confessing heart. Cain went to God with pride, saying “Look what I’ve done for you.”
He was repeating the sin of his parents who were also jealous of God. So jealous that they wanted to be like God. So did Cain.
When God rejected his offering, Cain became angry. And when God confronted him and told him how to make it right, rather than turning back to God, repenting, and doing it on God’s terms, he turned to sin. He became the first murderer.
Yes, Cain was jealous of the approval Abel received. But more importantly, he was jealous of God and unwilling to do things on God’s terms.
The sad conclusion to this story is that after he murdered Abel and God confronted him, Cain still did not return to God. He kept running, withdrawing even further from the presence of God. That’s what happens with jealousy you never deal with, never confess to God.
But the good news is that when you recognize jealousy in your life, if you turn to God, run to Him and not away from Him, there’s grace sufficient for you.
God will set you free and help you become one who worships Him on His terms.