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Jealous of Your Christianity
by Dr. Johnny O. Trail, LMFT
Jealousy is not always a negative thing as presented by scripture. God is described as “jealous” over His people. Exodus 20:5 says, “You shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me.” In the realm of human interaction and Christianity, there can be good envy or evil envy depending upon the situation.

Christians generally think of jealousy as a negative thing. We never want to covet another person’s possessions or be guilty of any godless activity or mindset (Exodus 20:17). In God’s word, there is the idea of provoking others to desire the relationship with Christ that you possess. Our Christianity should instill within others the desire to have what we possess in Christ. That is the basic reasoning that is used by Paul in Romans 11:14.

In the book of Romans, Paul makes a very interesting statement about drawing apostate Jews to Christ and New Testament Christianity. He says in Romans 11:14 “If by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.” That is, he wanted the Gentiles’ relationship with Christ to provoke them into wanting the same thing.

This same concept is at work in the Old Testament. God always had an interest in the Gentile nations becoming His people. Jehovah outlines this as one of the reasons for the deliverance from the Egyptians. He says in Exodus 19:5, “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."

Consequently, similar language is used by Peter in connection with Christians who were encumbered with spreading the gospel to all nations (cf. Matthew 28:19). 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” As God’s people we should be drawing others to Jesus as we proclaim His praises.

Furthermore, God’s desire to spare Ninevah from destruction underscores His lovingkindness to the Gentile people. Jonah acknowledges this himself when he says in Jonah 4:2, “So he prayed to the LORD, and said, "Ah, LORD, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore, I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.” God wanted the Gentiles to be saved as much as He wanted the Jews to be saved also.

How do we make others jealous of our Christianity to the extent that they want what we have? We do it by living a joyous existence in the face of daunting life circumstances. We should have a peace within us that passes all understanding. Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

A person who sees a Christian’s peace in the face of tumultuous circumstances might ask, “How can you be so calm given the fact that so much seems to be falling apart around you?”

When you explain the nature of your confidence in Christ, they may respond, “I wish I had that in my life.”

By living our Christianity and producing the fruits of the Spirit, we have in our lives the very things that troubled people in our world want. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” All reasonable people desire these things. The problem is they seek them outside of Christ and in the pursuit of worldly pleasures.

For these reasons and more, Christians should be the most content people on the face of the earth. Contentedness does not mean freedom from struggles, temptations, or the negative situations we face in life. It is a realization that God remains in control no matter how bad the situation becomes. Our manner of living is, in some respect, a means of doing personal evangelism. For this reason and our soul’s salvation, we should not live in a hypocritical manner.

This flows with the idea of Christ living within us. Galatians 2:20 says, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” If others see Christ and His lifestyle residing within us, they will be drawn to Him.

It may seem like an odd way of doing personal evangelism until one considers that the most effective means of converting others is through “friend evangelism.” The formation of a relationship with one who is “jealous” of what you possess in Christ can provide a foundation for you to share Jesus and the plan of salvation with them.