This week we wrapped up our 2-week series called "Instalife" at WNW. We would have finished the previous week but I was out sick with the flu, and the students had a night where they shared about Disciple Now Weekend. We began the night with a worship set that included "Song of Hope" (Robbie Seay Band), "Dry And Brittle" (They Came Running), and "You are Holy- Isaiah 6" (Christ For The Nations Music).
In this message we looked at the self-destructing tendency we all have which is jealousy. We took some time discussing the ways that teenagers face jealousy today. The first thing mentioned was dating relationships. We discussed how teenagers become jealous when the person they like are dating someone else. Students also mentioned that jealousy grows when people have things that they want such as cars, cell phones, iPods, and money in general. We can become jealous on Instagram when we get concerned with the number of followers we have, a specific person who is not following us, the number of likes we get on a picture, and the things that others show off.
We talked about how there are 2 types of jealousy, one good and the other bad.
1) Godly Jealousy - Exodus 34:14
Moses had been on the mountain receiving the 10 Commandments. While he was gone the Israelites had one of their less awesome moments and decided to make a golden calf and worship it. The response if a reflection of the very first commandment in that there should be no other gods in our life except the One True God. God wants us to seek a relationship with Him. When we stop to consider how incredible that really is, then how could we not seek Him.
2) Earthly Jealousy - James 3:13-18
This is the jealousy that we all deal with from time to time. This jealousy stems from selfishness within us. According to verse 15 it is actually demonic. If we look at the original language used in verse 16 with "every evil thing" it literally means "every worthless (vile) work". In other words this jealousy is simply for our own glory as opposed to bringing God glory.
So what are the dangers of jealousy? I believe first of all that it creates division. If you continue reading into James 4 he address conflicts and quarrels. If you continue to grow jealous of someone then eventually you will be against them, for no reason at all. Secondly, jealousy leads you to idol worship. Just as the Israelites bowed down before the golden calf, we bow down to the things we want. If we grow jealous in wanting something it will become all that we think about and cause us to take our eyes off of Jesus. Finally jealousy will cause you to lower your standards. This is especially true when it comes to dating relationships as the students had discussed previously in the night. Sometimes you grow jealous of wanting to date someone so badly that you end up making the poor decision to date someone you should not.
So how do you defeat jealousy? I believe the answer lies a few verses further in James 4:7-8. We are to submit to God and resist the devil. We are to draw near to God because then He will draw near to us. We do not have to question or wonder if He will because Scripture says that He will draw near to us. The problem lies when we place a time frame on God. How silly for us to place a time limit on the very same God who has created us and the universe. Sometimes I believe that God wants us to reach a little farther, and draw even nearer to Him and so He remains silent for us to do that. However He is still right there waiting on us.
So we closed with a time for the students to search their hearts and see where they have allowed jealousy to creep in their lives. I challenged them to discover it and get rid of it. The truth is God may or may not give us what we want. If He does not then I believe that He has something greater in store. The truth is God does not owe us anything. However He has given us Himself which is everything. When we realize that and grow content in Him alone, then jealousy disappears and we grow as we are intended to.