James 4:4-5 – You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
After I preach every weekend, our five kids and now two of their spouses, as well as Grace’s mom who I love like my own mom, come to our house for family dinner. It’s one of my favorite parts of the week and it’s basically just practice for Heaven and the party that never ends. I love having them all around the dining room table.
At the head of the table, there is one chair and that’s reserved for me because I’m the husband and father. When all the kids come over, they sit down at the table, and I go grab my plate and I sit down at the table with them.
Imagine if, one Sunday, I go to grab my plate and I walk in and there’s another guy sitting in my chair. Suddenly, a lot of Old Testament is coming to mind. What if I looked and said, “Who’s this guy?” and Grace says “Well, in addition to you, there’s other men I spend time with, go on dates with, am in relationship with, so just to be fair, we’re going to be rotating them through for family dinner.”
I would be running prison ministry from the inside. Because that’s my place. God gets jealous when we get adulterous and puts someone else in His place. If you’re dating a non-Christian, Jesus is thinking, “Why are you putting someone else in my place?” Same with if your job or your comfort are in Jesus’ place.
Our God is a personal, relational, loving God and when we break God’s laws, we break God’s heart. In the same way, if there was someone you were utterly committed to and they were just using you, you would be devastated.
God wants to have a “marriage” covenant type relationship with His people but oftentimes, we just want a “friends with benefits” type of relationship where we’re only interested in what He can do for us. We want someone to bail us out when we get in trouble but otherwise, we live for ourselves.
He wants us to have a relationship only with Him and not with the world, for our own good, but He’s also loving and gracious enough not to force the relationship. My prayer for you is that you can see Him as a loving God who only wants the best for you and that, out of that love, your desire will be to turn from the flesh and turn towards a relationship with Him.
Do you see God as a loving but jealous husband, or do you see Him as mean and filled with rules? If it’s the first one, thank Him for his love and goodness and, if it’s the second one, pray to receive the comfort and relationship only He can bring.