Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A heart divided….

“Their heart is divided and deceitful; now shall they be found guilty and suffer punishment.  The Lord will smite and break down [the horns of] their altars; He will destroy their [idolatrous] pillars”.  Hosea 10:2 AMP

There are often two issues of the heart that are at the epicenter of the division in a kingdom, a city, relationships and especially a home.  They are envy and jealousy. 

Envy differs from jealousy in that it is “a painful and resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, accompanied by a strong desire to possess the same advantage.”   It’s the “have nots” eyeing what the “haves” possess, whether it is talent, possession, prestige, position, power, potential, or money. 

If this envy is allowed to grow, it will typically do anything to get what it wants, including destroying its own country, city, relationships or home.

Jealousy, on the other hand, is “a desire to totally possess what one already has.” Of these two, envy is worse than jealousy; because God declares several times that He is a “jealous God,” but not once does He say that He is envious.

As soon as we learn that God is a jealous God, questions begin to arise, such as, “How can God be jealous if He is righteous and good?  Is not jealousy a vice and not a virtue?

The answer to those questions is that there are two sorts of jealousy among humans but only one of them is a vice.  Human jealousy that is a vice is coarse, controlling and cruel.  It entraps, smothers, and clutches tightly to what it owns.  It is selfish and allows no freedom to the one it possesses.

It does not consider what is best for that one.  It is suspicious, narrow, and negative.  It will question the motives of another; it will deplore another’s success.  Wrongful jealousy can divide and destroy relationships, a home and lead to chaos and destruction.  That is the side of jealousy that is a vice.

Yet, Scripture teaches that jealousy can be a virtue.  God’s jealousy is not a compound of frustration, envy, and spite as is the character of human jealousy.

God’s jealousy is revealed in Scripture as being an aspect of His covenant love for His people Israel. The Old Testament regards God’s covenant love as His marriage with Israel and the vow that He made with His bride Israel is a demand for unqualified love and loyalty.  Therefore, the unfaithfulness of Israel to her divine Husband, God, correctly provoked His virtuous jealousy and vengeance.

When people lose sight of God’s grace, they lose sight of God.  One of the evidences of this is lukewarmness towards God which leads to a complacency, which in turn leads to apathy and a forgetting of His past loving-kindness to His people.  

Apathy;” To be complacent or apathetic toward God in the face of the Cross is the greatest possible expression of rejection or hatred of God.  Once apathy toward God and all He has done for us grips the human heart, we soon lose any sense of obligation to obey Him.

Because of the seriousness of lukewarmness and complacency toward God, we must defend ourselves against it. The only antidote is to takes steps to turn away from it and spend time in His Word, prayer and worship.

A thankful heart towards God is evidence, of a heart intimately connected to Him. But a heart that rarely expresses genuine thanks to God typically reveals that one is living quite independently from Him.

“Keep vigilant watch over your heart;
that's where life starts.
Don't talk out of both sides of your mouth;
avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.
Keep your eyes straight ahead;
ignore all sideshow distractions.
Watch your step,
and the road will stretch out smooth before you.
Look neither right nor left;
leave evil in the dust”.   Prov. 4:23-37  Message Bible

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