Can Jealousy Be Good?

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”—Deuteronomy 4:24 The love of God is a jealous love.


Is that a godly attribute? We can understand a man or woman crashing about in a rage, seeking vengeance, if threatened by adultery and betrayal. But can you imagine God as a jealous lover?

That’s exactly what He is! “A jealous God,” Moses told the children of Israel. God’s love is so rich, so high, and so deep that we cannot fathom it—but it is a love that jealously desires our undivided hearts.

Jealousy comes in two forms: sinful or godly.

Sinful jealousy displays a total lack of trust and understanding for the object of love. Selfish, self-seeking, self-preserving, it cares more for self than the other person.

With God, the motives are pure.

“For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God” (Exodus 34:14). God is jealous over us; He will not share us with another because it is not in our best interest. He knows worldly passions can steal our hearts and hurt us.

"For our God is a consuming fire" (Hebrews 12:29).

The Lord’s emotional attitude toward us is described by fire. Hot, intense, and passionate!

We were created to know God. Our bodies are designed to house His glory. He jealously desires such a life for you.

If we knew a man who said, “It doesn’t matter to me how my wife bestows her favors. Why, I’m so large-hearted that I can share her with anyone,” most of us would think that man doesn’t really love his wife. He doesn’t care who uses her, or how her emotions get tossed about.

Similarly, Paul the apostle, writing to the church in Corinth, said, “I am jealous for you with godly jealousy” (2 Corinthians 11:2). Because Paul cared so deeply for these believers, he wrote, “I’m jealous for you, and because I’m jealous, if I see you getting off track, I’m going to confront you in love.”

Dwight L. Moody, according to his biography, “had one central message to share with the people: Men and women are all created to be friends and lovers of God. We are made for no other end. Until we realize this we will live lives of turmoil, confusion, and even desperation.”[i]

We are made to be on a heavenly course, being drawn lovingly—and jealously—closer and closer to our Heavenly Father.

 [i] Dorsett, Lyle W. A Passion for Souls, The Life of D.L. Moody (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 1997), p. 192.