Inciting God's holy jealousy - Jason Smith

I've been learning more than ever in recent weeks, about various attributes of God.

As I mentioned in this space a couple of weeks ago, my wife and I have been involved in a series of classes at my church, which have begun to deepen my knowledge of Him.

One of the topics which was discussed on Sunday is the concept of God as a "jealous God."

I had heard this term many times as I was growing up, and I was always a bit confused by it, because I had been brought up to believe jealousy is a bad thing.

Then the speaker said something that struck a chord with me like never before. He explained why God's jealousy is different from anything we experience in human terms.

He said God is jealous when our sin separates us from Him, and when we make gods out of other things which take our focus away from Him.

It could be something as damaging as an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or something as simple as an obsession with a certain television show.

Even things which are, in themselves, not bad, can become harmful if our passion for those things is more intense than a passion for God's glory.

Ever since I heard what the speaker said, I've been thinking about things in my life which have, over time, done just that -- taken God's place in my mind and heart, even becoming gods themselves.

As I look back on my life, I can honestly say I've made gods out of past relationships, which consumed every aspect of my being at the time. When those relationships were gone, I couldn't understand why it was happening.

But now, I can say those relationships -- whether simply friendships or otherwise -- were keeping me from being used by God in the way He intended.

Losing the bonds I had with those people was the best thing that could have happened to me.

Still, I know I've struggled with keeping God's commandment about having no other gods before Him.

I've said in the past that I love singing karaoke, and anyone who knows me can attest to my enjoyment of things like Facebook. There's nothing wrong with either one of those things, but when we take them out of their proper place in our lives, and revolve everything around them, we incite God's holy jealousy.

I don't want to be that kind of person. When my life is over, I don't want to be known simply as a decent writer, or a funny guy with an insane number of Facebook friends.

I want to be known as someone who had a desire above all else, to glorify God in all things. The bottom line is, I can't do that, if there's something in my life that is more important.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.