Love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire. — Song of Solomon 8:6
Jealousy is one of those things that can be a bad thing if demonstrated in a non-loving way. In other words, as The Love Dare says, “There are actually two forms: a legitimate jealousy based upon love, and an illegitimate jealousy based upon envy.” (p. 36) We know that there are many biblical warnings against jealousy based upon envy, but on the other hand it refers to God as a jealous God who is love.
So the lesson today speaks of God’s jealousy as being for His people because He loves us so much and wants for us to keep Him first. But the lesson also speaks a great warning to those who would be jealous of someone who has something that you want. That kind of jealousy can lead to bitterness and anger if not tempered by learning to love others. No doubt you have all seen couples whose marriages have been crippled by jealousy—it’s not pretty. As the book says, “It is time to let love, humility, and gratefulness destroy any jealousy that springs up in your heart. It’s time to let your mate’s successes draw you closer together and give you greater opportunities to show genuine love.” (p. 38)
To that end, the authors want to remind us that we should be our spouse’s greatest cheerleaders—to encourage them on to greater chances to excel. If we can do that, we have taken a step away from selfishness (there’s that word again!) and towards oneness.
Here is today’s dare during deployment: Take yesterday’s list of negative attributes and destroy it. Then email, write, or telephone your spouse to tell them how glad you are about a recent success that they have achieved. If, because you are experiencing deployment, you don’t know what a recent success might be, be sure and ask them something like this, “I want to be your cheerleader. Would you share with me something you have accomplished lately that you are particularly proud of—because I want to tell you that I am proud of you, too.”
On FamilyLife’s webpage there is a daily journal of one woman’s experience doing The Love Dare. Here is what she writes about Day 8: “Today’s challenge was to destroy the negative list I made yesterday. Destroying the list was easy—I just tossed the piece of notebook paper into the chimera and the flames blackened it to ash in the wink of an eye. Then I prayed that my negativity would disappear just as quickly. I’ve held onto hurt for a long time, but I realized my hurt has been tying us to a place we need to move beyond and rise above. I must watch that Satan doesn’t stir the ashes to try to spark the fear.”
I believe that what she has shared has a message for all of us.
Here are Scriptures to encourage you in truth:
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. — Galatians 5:24-26
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. — Romans 13:13,14
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. — James 3:16
Kendrick, Stephen and Alex, The Love Dare (Nashville: B & H Publishing Group, 2008)