jealousy is not a good thing when it comes to Kingdom goals. as the body of Christ, we are meant to work together in harmony, laying aside the “getting ahead” mindset, and accomplish our individual and collective purposes. 1 Corinthians 12:12 states, “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ” (KJV, Tyndale 1987). the entire body is meant to work together to grow, flourish, and fight off sickness and disease. throughout the Bible, scripture talks of God being a jealous God. when you read this, the term is generally not used in a good sense but reflects the current attention of the people. so when is jealousy a good thing? let’s examine a few scriptures and see where jealousy may have been used to force the hand of God’s people.
i want to establish that jealousy is not usually a good thing, and you must work toward a Kingdom mindset. Proverbs 6:34 declares, “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance.” jealousy led to the first murder of the Bible. Abel did not have a problem with Cain. jealousy burned within brothers, and they sold their youngest sibling into slavery and lied to cover it up. Joseph did not have a problem with his brothers and later acknowledged that they played a part in God’s plan. is this an example of jealousy being good when it plays into God’s will for a people?
last year we heard from Pastor Jimmy Toney concerning jealousy. he taught, “Jealousy is a soul killer! Jealousy binds you; there will always be someone better at something. if you’re jealous, it’s your fault. insecurity is the fertile soil where jealousy grows. do the best for God where you’re at and if He gives you more, then do the best at that. when you get over-analytical about something, it’s a warning that there may be a hint of jealousy.” Pastor Brian Kinsey wisely concluded this meeting with, “get a blessing tongue! false humility is worse than pride. stay open to correction. make sure whoever you allow speaking into your life has your best interest in mind.” i had to directly quote from that meeting out of my notes because i could not put it any better. rejoice with your brothers and sisters! your turn will come if you keep the right spirit and attitude about each situation. we are working together for a common goal. sometimes we have to adapt and become flexible, but we work toward the vision of our leadership and the ministry of reconciliation.
to my surprise, i came across this verse in Romans 11:11, “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.” did Paul say that God included the Gentiles in His salvation plan to make the Jewish people jealous? i whole-heartily believe that it was God’s intention from the beginning to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17). through the original covenant with Abraham, all nations would be blessed (Genesis 22:18). would God then use the rejection of the Messiah and the open blessing of the Gentiles to persuade the Jews? this may have been a wise byproduct of their jealousy, but including everyone in the plan of salvation is the compassionate strategy from the foundation of the world.
in Romans 11, “If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches” (verses 14-16). here, Paul welcomes the “provoke to emulation” in the hope that some would be curious to see what God is doing in His new church. the Jews are the first fruit and the root. the Old Testament is full of wisdom and types of the coming salvation. to consider the workings of the old within the enlightenment of the new and conclude the miraculous, opening the complete understanding of the “chosen” people. this knowledge and experience would significantly advance the church and the mission of Christ. Paul used his knowledge of the scriptures with the perspective of the New Covenant to do great things and share through his writings.
i am not ignorant that God may utilize tragedy as an instrument of ministry. i am aware enough of church culture to know that He is the only one who should do so. if we continued in 1 Corinthians 12, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular” (Verses 13, 18, 23-27). God is God, and i am not. let us care, one for another, with honor and rejoicing. this is the body of Christ, and together we’re going to make it!