Today’s Scripture: For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:2

There were two shopkeepers who were bitter rivals. They were located across the street from each other, and would glare at each other all day long. When one would get a customer, he would beam and the other owner would scowl. They were fierce competitors who did not like each other and were jealous of each other’s business.

One day an angel appeared before one of the shopkeepers in a dream and said, “I am going to give you whatever you wish for. You can wish for anything you want – money, success, health, you name it. The only catch is that whatever you wish for, the other shopkeeper will get double.”

The shopkeeper thought for a moment, and said, “My wish is to be blind in one eye.”

Can you imagine having so much envy that it would lead to that? We kind of laugh at a story like this, but you know what? It really isn’t too far off from the way we are, and the way we can be. It shows the danger of envy. Envy is when you want what someone else has. Jealousy is the emotion that arises when we fear that we might be replaced in the affections of another person.

Paul was jealous over the Corinthian church with a godly jealousy. He had first led them to Christ, then to growth, and eventually they would be present with Christ. As the church, we are the bride and Christ is the groom. Paul wanted to present the church at Corinth as pure to Jesus.

Because of our human nature, jealousy is usually expressed as selfishness, suspicion, and distrust. Jealousy has broken relationships, homes, and even bodies. Human jealousy is a terrible sinful thing.

Now how do we distinguish between godly and sinful jealousy? Sinful jealousy is when you are domineering, and you easily get upset when there’s no real reason to get upset. Godly jealousy is being jealous over what is right.  If you must be jealous, make sure it is a righteous, selfless jealousy.

Love never envies, but love does have a duty to jealously guard and protect the ones we love. That is when jealousy can be a good thing.

Devotional by Jim Scudder, Jr.