If I was a jealous husband that badgered my wife and demanded that she talk to no one else in the world but me, I would not be a good husband. Such jealousy is wrong. My wife needs other people in her life, too. She has family and friends, and we have children. Those relationships are essential for her, and if I was jealous of those relationships, I would have a serious problem.
What if I said, though, that there is a kind of jealousy that is a good kind of jealousy? That may sound crazy, but I think many people would agree…
If I was jealous for my wife’s physical love and affection that is reserved for a husband and wife according to God’s perfect plan (i.e. Genesis 2:24-25; Mark 10:6-9), then I would be displaying good jealousy. In fact, if I was not jealous for such intimacy and was okay with that intimacy being shared with others, I would not only be wrong, but I would cease to be a good husband. My supposed love would be tainted and incomplete. To truly love my wife is to be jealous for her physical affection and intimacy that are reserved for me as her husband. Likewise, she should be jealous for the same from me and expect nothing less.
It grieves me, then, to hear about couples who have “open relationships” and do not reserve their intimacy for one another inside biblical marriage. They are missing out on God’s beautiful design and will not experience the fulfillment and satisfaction that are only found in His plan for our lives. Furthermore, they cannot experience a right and growing relationship with Him if they are content to disregard the truth of His Word and instead serve their own false idols (whether that be sexual lust or anything else that is outside God’s plan as declared clearly in His Word).
Biblical marriage, after all, is a beautiful picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ (see Ephesians 5:21-33). And, to be jealous for the exclusivity of marital intimacy is right and good.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will be preaching from Zechariah 1:7 – 2:13 on what it looks like to be “Renewed and Chosen” (by God). And, while the sermon will be about much more than good jealousy, one thing that jumps out at me from this passage of Scripture is the ultimate example of good jealousy – God’s jealousy (Zechariah 1:14).
When you are chosen by God and turn to Him for salvation, He is jealous for you. Just as He was jealous for His people in Zechariah’s time, He is jealous for His people today. God alone is worthy of our worship, and so it is right and good for Him to be jealous for us to seek to glorify Him alone, just as it is right and good for me to be jealous for my wife to be married to me alone. We were created to have one spouse and one spouse only, and we were created to worship One God and One God only.
What is your response to God’s jealousy for you? As we will consider Sunday, He is sovereign over all things, and how we respond to His sovereign control (and jealous love) is immensely important. Absolute and total surrender to Him (and Him alone) will suffice.