Google+ 07/24/13 I Refuse to be Jealous!

Acts 13:44-46

 

 

 

The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord.

But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous;

So they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.

Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared,

“It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews.

But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life,

We will offer it to the Gentiles.

 

Are we jealous?  Many of us are and it is very dangerous.  How do we know if we are jealous?  Our Scripture tells us.  Look carefully.  The Jews saw the crowds coming to hear Paul speak.  Some of the Jews were jealous.  What did they do?  They immediately slandered Paul and argued against him.  I will probably be the most unpopular person on the internet today, but here comes the Biblical truth.  If you ever slander anyone, you are a jealous person.  The dictionary says that slander is telling one or more persons an untruth about someone else for the purpose of making them look lesser than they are.  This can also include "changing" the truth to make yourself look better.  What causes us to do this kind of thing?  Yes, the accurate response is Satan, but there is more to it than that.  God created each of us to be a unique person to work in the Kingdom of God.  If we focus on who God wants us to be, we have no time to talk about others.  We have no reason to compare, as God sees us ultimately valuable.  We will have a sense of fulfillment beyond any comparison we could muster.  Listen carefully to what I am about to say.  When you are jealous, the things you say out loud to others about your fellow man can probably never be taken back.  They can be forgiven, but likely not forgotten.  The malice in our hearts that it takes to compare and covet someone else's talents or treasures is frightening and rarely do we truly repent from this kind of behavior.  We can repent, but usually we do not.  The situation gets worse and worse.  So what happens?  The closing of our Scripture for today tells us.  Paul and Barnabas look at these jealous people and explain that they preached first to the Jews as the Scripture foretold.  Notice what Paul and Barnabas say next.  Since the Jews judged themselves as unworthy of eternal life and rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ by their behavior and actions, Paul, Barnabas, and God have moved on to people who will listen.  The Jews excluded themselves because of their jealousy and their rejection of God's Word.  This is what jealousy does.  Jealousy then leads to anger, which leads to more slander, which leads to more jealousy, which eventually leads to a self-exclusion from God's family.  The Bible tells us how to deal with this problem.  We are to make a public apology to everyone hurt by the lie or slander, and then go directly to the individual that has been slandered and eternally repent.  While these steps are possible, most often they are not probable.  The easiest way to eliminate this problem is to never be jealous and slander others.  We do that by being happy for others when they are obedient to God's calling.  Rejoice in the "crowds" attracked by others who are being obedient to God and preaching the truth.  We should focus on our calling, and keep our tongues silent as it relates to others.  That is between them and God.  Start your day by fixing this problem.  Examine your life in front of God so that you can always say, "I Refuse to Be Jealous!"