Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

Jealous God? What Does That Mean?

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

From our own experiences, we all know what human jealousy is. Jealousy is commonly understood as resentment against a person for having or enjoying what we think should be our own. As novelist, poet and essayist Erica Jong put it, “Jealousy is all the fun you think they had.”

But is this the only type of jealousy discussed in the Bible? What is godly jealousy?

One man who tells us he had the kind of jealousy that God has is the apostle Paul.

Paul’s “godly jealousy”

Would you have thought of the great apostle Paul as someone who harbored jealousy? But he said he did. Let’s consider the context of his statement.

On his second evangelistic tour, he stopped in the bustling city of Corinth. While living there, Paul learned firsthand about the difficulties the Christians living in Corinth faced.

Corinth was a wealthy, multiethnic port city. The business of the docks brought exposure to languages, ethics, cultures and religions from all over the known world; and it was a center for pagan worship.

Cults for the gods of Egypt, Rome and Greece were all found there.

The famous temple of Venus (also known as Aphrodite, the goddess of love) was said to have 1,000 “priestesses” or temple prostitutes.

The city’s reputation for rampant sexual immorality was known everywhere and inspired the phrase to Corinthianize, meaning “to live the Corinthians; hence, to lead a life of licentiousness and debauchery” (William Dwight Whitney, The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia: Dictionary, 1906).

It’s no wonder Paul had a soft spot in his heart for those striving to maintain their Christianity in spite of daily difficulties in Corinth. Even after he left Corinth to continue his journeys, the members there were often in his thoughts.

Two letters he wrote to the Corinthians show the deep love and concern he felt for them—even to the point of correcting them and trying to protect them.

Dangers from sin and false teachers

In his second epistle to the church at Corinth, Paul reminded them to beware of false prophets and not give their words any credence.

Then he wrote, “Oh, that you would bear with me in a little folly—and indeed you do bear with me. For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy.

For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:1-2, emphasis added throughout).

“Jealousy” here is from the Greek word zelos and can be either an “intense positive interest in something—zeal—ardor, marked by a sense of dedication” as in 2 Corinthians 11:2, or the word can refer to “intense negative feelings over another’s achievements or success, jealousy, envy” as in 1 Corinthians 3:3 (Frederick William Danker, The Concise Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament).

Paul knew that the Corinthians’ faithfulness to the one true God was threatened by the prevalence of sin in their society and by the influence of false teachers.

He spoke to the Corinthian members as a father would to a daughter he loved and wanted to protect, because he loved them in that same way. He was on guard for them. Dictionary.

com defines jealousy as “vigilance in maintaining or guarding something.”

We all have the desire to guard and protect something or someone we care for, with every available means—to be jealous for them (not of them). This is the sense in which Paul was jealous for the Corinthians, and it is the type of jealousy God feels for His own children as well.

“Jealous God” misunderstood

Godly jealousy can be easily misunderstood when considering a scripture such as Exodus 20:5, which says in the context of the Second Commandment, “For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations.”

This can sound as though God punishes innocent people! But is that what this is really saying? This would instill terror instead of love into our understanding of who and what God is.

This interpretation is contradicted directly in Ezekiel 18, which states plainly that the father who sins will be accountable for himself only, and his child will not bear the spiritual consequence of his father’s sin.

But even the sinner, if he repents and “turns from all his sins … and does what is lawful and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die.

None of the transgressions which he has committed shall be remembered against him” (Ezekiel 18:21-22).

A caring father corrects his child when he does wrong or persists in an activity that is dangerous, because parents want the best for their children. So does God.

The context of Exodus 20 shows that God was concerned that His people would worship idols and false gods, taking them away from the knowledge of the one true God and into sin.

The passage in Exodus 20 states that God would visit “the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me [continue in sin], but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments” (verses 5-6).

Although God does not punish later generations for the sins of their predecessors, there is a tendency for sin in one generation to carry forward, often down to the third or fourth generation following.

Note, for example, Leviticus 26:39, in this connection: “And those of you who are left shall waste away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; also in their fathers’ iniquities, which are with them, they shall waste away.” Too often, children follow the poor examples of their parents; that is the meaning of this statement.

The loving God of the Old Testament

People often think of “the God of the Old Testament” as an unfair, tyrannical judge—perhaps as a God showing the human form of jealousy. But a glance at just a few scriptures counters that assessment.

  • “The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).
  • “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth” (Psalm 86:15).
  • “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,’ says the LORD” (Jeremiah 9:23-24).

The beautiful word lovingkindness implies mercy, kindness, favor, graciousness and forgiveness. Does that sound a harsh and angry God who doesn’t love you? He is not a God who is jealous with the selfish, human type of jealousy.

And of the New Testament

God’s goodness and love are exemplified throughout the New Testament. Jesus Christ tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The apostle Paul also wrote a lot about God’s love.

What kept Paul going in spite of everything others did to him? He had come to know the love, mercy and faithfulness of God, and he trusted Him. Paul sums it up in his letter to the Christians living in Rome:

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:37-39).

Growing to understand God’s love

As disciples of Jesus Christ, James and John were jealous and zealous for God. Christ even called them the “Sons of Thunder” (Mark 3:17). But Jesus showed that their hotheaded jealousy was misguided. When a village in Samaria refused to receive Christ, James and John angrily wanted to call down fire from heaven and destroy the whole town.

Jesus sharply corrected them for their impetuous, angry attitude: “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of,” Jesus told them. “For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:55-56).

This rebuke must have left a deep impression on John. The disciple known as a “Son of Thunder” later became known as the apostle of love. In the Gospel and epistles that bear his name, we gain much insight into the nature of God’s love.

As we come to know God more deeply, understanding His love, our natural response should be to love Him in return and to learn to always put Him first. We love Him because He first loved us (1 John 4:19).

Even while we were sinners, God sent His Son to die for us so that we might live. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Obviously, God does not want us to turn our backs on His love or to trample the sacrifice of “the Son of God underfoot” (Hebrews 10:29). He is jealous for us for our own good—because He loves us.

John, the apostle of love, shows how God’s love begins to work in us, writing in his first epistle, “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome” (1 John 5:2-3).

This brings us back to what we are told in the Second Commandment, that God is a “jealous God” who shows “mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” God knows that keeping His commandments will bring us blessings and that breaking them will hurt us, so godly jealousy— love—He greatly desires for us to obey.

For more about God’s love and how He wants us to respond, see the following articles:

  • God Is Love.
  • Love of God.
  • The 10 Commandments for Today.

Another resource that can be helpful is “Knowing God,” our free seven-day Journey. Let us be your guide as you spend a week discovering who God is and what He has in store for you—in this life and the next.

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13 Powerful Prayers for Overcoming Jealousy

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

There are many reasons why an individual may experience jealousy. These powerful prayers for overcoming jealousy will help you to find peace and heal your heart from any discontent.

Prayer #1

Wonderful Counselor, I bind that spirit of jealousy that’s attempting to consume my life. I curse it out completely in the name of Jesus, for it is more than cruelty and overwhelming fury. Remove it now, mighty God, along with the hatred, anger, fear and insecurities that fuel it.

Prayer #2

Loving Lord we know that the jealousies of the flesh are ruinous and evil – and are abhorrent in Your eyes and yet You display a good and godly jealousy over Your children, and the things of God that are precious in Your sight.

Thank You Lord that You are jealous in that way over Your love for me – I thank You also for the godly jealous displayed by Paul over the church of God and pray that we too may develop a desire him, to pray for Your protection of the church, from the evil ways of Satan who desire to lead believers astray – in the same way that he deceived Eve in the garden of Eden.

Help me more and more to develop a godly passion – a godly jealousy over the things of God. Help me not to perpetuate truth through compromise, nor water down the gospel of grace in order to maintain a false unity – but rather Lord I pray that I may develop a passion for the truth as we seek to share the gospel of grace with all who are wiling to listen, in Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Prayer #3

Father, I am not glad. I am jealous. So, please, make me glad in You. Change my heart by the power of your Spirit. I’m not turning to anyone or anything else. Just you. I lift up my jealous, sinful soul to you Forgive me through Jesus. Strengthen my faith. Help me.

Prayer #4

Everlasting Father, I desire to be as holy as You are. Set me free of the thoughts that consume my mind which cause the jealousy to arise. Substitute the negativity and cruelty within my heart with Your peace and love, and gentle kindness.

Prayer #5

Dear Heavenly Father,

I pray for wives who struggle with jealousy. I pray they would not be jealous of other marriages, other women, or of their husbands.

I pray that instead of being jealous of their husband’s opportunities, job, friends, or anything else, they would be confident through their faith in You! Instead of letting jealousy root in their heart over what another wife has or a friend has, that thankfulness in the gifts You have given would satisfy. Remove and carve from our hearts any bit of jealous that resides in Jesus’ name, Amen.

Prayer #6

Father, come and be the all consuming fire in me! Consume all my flesh Lord, that I will be free from all envy and jealousy, that I will only look to YOU for all I need; that I will serve only an audience of ONE. I pray I will be more and more YOU, and walk and talk You. Conform my mind and thoughts to Your thoughts Lord. Take complete control of me Holy Spirit that I will not do my own will, but only Yours!

Prayer #7

Loving Father forgive me for my feelings of jealousy which I know are not righteous and very detrimental, to my well-being, my health and my relationships. Keep me from looking at the attributes and achievements of others and wishing I had their gifts and graces. – Help me Lord to develop an attitude of contentment and peace, which I know only comes from You.

Lord sometimes my stupid jealousy has caused rifts between dear friends and me – and even has contributed to problems with my own family.. and this desire to have what belongs to others – or to enjoy the popularity and charisma that others seem to have, has become at times so stifling that I don’t know which way to turn – and I know that this is not Your will for my life.

Forgive me for my jealousies and help me to develop an attitude of gratitude for all that I am and all that I have. And Lord I pray that You would give me the grace to change my thoughts from those of envy and jealousy to right thinking and pure thoughts.

Lord I know that it says in scripture to think about whatever is true, and good, whatever is right and pure, whatever is lovely and admirable, and whatever is excellent and praiseworthy and to fix my mind on such things. Help me Lord to change my thought pattern from the bad to the good – for I know that all things are possible with you and I ask this in Jesus name. Thank You Father. Amen.

Prayer #8

Prince of Peace, help those who are struggling today. May they experience Your love and show love in return to all they come into contact with.

Help me to not be envious towards my neighbors and friends but rather to be happy for them and encourage them to go even further. Cleanse me of anything that breaks Your heart, oh Savior.

Help me live a righteous life, Heavenly Father. Because on this day I declare it, I decree it and speak it into my life, in JESUS’ mighty name, Amen!

Prayer #9

Dear Lord we bring before You the many people that are enmeshed in a web of envy and jealousy, which we know has a very detrimental effect on the lives of all who are caught up in its destructive ways.

Lord we know that jealousy is a cancer that rots a person from the inside out and we know that jealousy is a root that gives birth to other fleshly evils and unwholesome desires – and Lord, we ask You to look down in compassion and pity all who have succumbed to this ruinous route.

Lord we know that all good things comes from You and we pray that in Your grace You would seek out those that do not yet know You but who desire to turn from their envious and jealous attitudes – and draw them into a saving relationship with the Lord Jesus. And Lord, if they are believers who have jealous streaks in their heart we pray that You would convict them of their need to turn from this destructive path so that they may return back into fellowship with Yourself.

Lord If there are any hidden jealousies that are tucked away in my own heart, I pray that in Your grace, You would bring them to my attention so that I may confess them as my own struggles, even if I am unaware of them or have camouflaged them in my foolish pride.

Thank You Lord that You died for each one of us and do not turn Your back on any who cry out to You for help… so in Your love and compassion we pray that even now You would draw very close to those that are sinking in a cess-pit of jealousy and draw them into Your arms, in Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Prayer #10

Dear Lord, Please help me. I get jealous of my own husband. I get jealous of the time that he has, the things that he gets to do or doesn’t do, I get jealous of the opportunities he receives, and it hurts. I need to appreciate what you have given specifically to me, embracing it and responding to it all with joy in Jesus name, Amen.

Prayer #11

Father, Please give me the GRACE to overcome any immoral fleshly activity in my life that would fuel dissension and jealousy.

Remove any pride that would cause me to think myself more deserving or better than others.

Help me to “Put on” the Lord Jesus by coming into Your presence daily and worshipping You, and communicating with You in prayer and studying Your word, that My mind would be renewed.

Prayer #12

Dear heavenly Father, I so often look at other people and simply wish I was them, or had what they have – and Father it seems to be developing into an obsession, which frightens me Lord. Help me to overcome this obsessive jealousy of wishing I was someone else and of being envious of their opportunities and personalities.

Lord I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made and that You scheduled every day of my life and that You even know the numbers of hairs on my head – and in my heart I know that You died for ME… because you loved ME. Help me Lord to be content with ME and who I am and please help me to overcome this desire to always be someone else.

I pray Lord that every time a feeling of jealousy or envy starts to creep into my thoughts, that You would help me to take that thought captive and hand it over to Jesus – and help me instead to fix my mind on You – and call to mind that You died on the cross and rose again because of Your love for ME.

Thank You for loving me and I pray that I may learn to become the person You made me to be – and be released from always wishing I was someone else. Thank You in the name of Jesus Christ, my Saviour. Amen

Prayer #13

Father, uproot in me any of the works of the flesh, that would war against Your holiness in me! Bring to me, the Spirit of burning and burn off all the flesh that would yield to jealousy and envy, cruelty and hatred.

Father do not allow your turtledove to be turned over to the wild beasts of the earth! Rescue me from all darkness! Fill me with more of Your love, peace, kindness and patience. Overwhelm me with YOUR LOVE, that I would not think or act in worldly ways.

Give me GRACE to deny my flesh and to walk in the light as You are in the light.

Here is a great video from Pastor Rick Warren where he discusses how to triumphant fear in the relationship and find peace and comfort.

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Dealing With Jealousy {Growing in Godliness Series for Kids}

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

It begins with a seed of discontent. A thought of insecurity. Jealousy is a green monster that must be slain. Helping our children understand why jealousy is harmful is a step in the right direction on the narrow path of godliness. {Deuteronomy 5:32}

Scripture Focus:1 Samuel 18:6-16; 1 Corinthians 13:4

Materials: a sheet of green paper

Free Poster:  Click on the image below and print.

Background: David killed Goliath. It was quite the event and Saul added David to his court. Saul’s son Jonathan became David’s best friend. David served Saul well and was given many leadership opportunities.

Object Lesson on Jealousy:

{Hold up the green paper.}

What color is this? [Green] What emotion do you feel when you see this color? [Allow for answers.] Have you ever heard the saying, “green with envy”? What does it mean? [Allow for answers.]

People who know a lot of about words and where they come from think that the term “green with envy” began with the Greeks. The Greeks believed that emotions came from the organs in your body.

The liver produces bile, which is a yellow-green color.

So when people became jealous, they thought it was because the liver was producing too much bile and it caused their faces to turn slightly green.

An author, name Shakespeare, used the phrase “green-eyed monster” to personify jealousy.

Act 3 of Othello:
O! beware my lord, of Jealousy;
It is the green-ey’d monster which doth mock
The meat it feeds on.

Jealousy and envy are similar, but not the same thing. What does it mean for a person to be jealous? [Allow answers. Lead them to a definition similar to “the fear and anger of losing something of value, especially a relationship”.] What does it mean to be envious? [Wanting or wishing for something that belongs to someone else, such as a better job or a possession.] Jealousy is “I don’t want to lose this,” where as being envious is “I want what he has.”

Neither of these attitudes are glorifying to God. And being a jealous person, or being an envious person, can cause health issues if you don’t take care of the sin issue causing these emotions.

Bible Lesson on Jealousy:

David was a great servant of King Saul’s. King Saul’s son, Jonathan, loved David a brother. Jonathan gave David his own cloak and his armor, sword, and bow. And the scripture says that David behaved wisely wherever he went and that he was accepted by all the people.

After Saul sent David to fight the Philistines, David was coming home. The people came out onto the streets and the women sang and danced saying, “Saul has killed thousands, but David, ten thousands.” King Saul heard this and jealousy and envy filled his heart.

What was he afraid to lose? His kingdom. Why was he envious of David? Because the people d David better than they did King Saul. From that day forward Saul was angry and suspicious of David.

But wherever David went, he behaved in a wise manor. Saul watched this and was afraid of David because he knew the Lord as with David and not with him.

One day when David was playing the harp for Saul, the king grabbed a spear and threw it at David. David escaped, twice, from Saul.

All of the people loved David. The jealous and envy of King Saul would cause David to eventually run for his life and spend years in the wilderness running from a King who was “green with envy” and had no heart for God.

Life Application for Jealousy:

Is jealousy a bad thing? [Kids will say Yes.] But the Bible says that God is a jealous God. (Exodus 34:14) Scripture plainly tell us that God is good and perfect. So jealousy must not always be a bad thing.

Most of the time in the Bible we hear of God being jealous when he is telling the people to stop worshiping false idols.

Do you remember what the definition of jealousy is? [“the fear and anger of losing something of value, especially a relationship”] What relationship does God NOT want to lose? [his relationship with people] If God sees that there is something taking you away from his presence, then he is jealous for you. He wants to bless you. He wants to spend time with you. He wants to use you. But if we are distracted by other things and not listening to God, or spending time with him, then our relationship with God becomes damaged. God doesn’t want that.

{Hold up the poster. Read it aloud.}

1 Corinthians 13 is filled with definitions of love. Here we read that love is not jealous. Is this the good form or bad form of jealousy? [In this verse, it is the bad form of jealousy.

] In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul says that he is “jealous for [for the people] with a godly jealousy.

” This means he saw the people behaving in ways that did not honor God and he was jealous for them to have a right relationship with Jesus.

We are not to be jealous and envious of other people in such a way that we brake relationships with others. Nor are we to be mean and angry and act King Saul. We are to be jealous with a godly jealousy desiring all people to know Jesus and walk with him. We are not to be jealous OF people, but we are not be jealous FOR people.

What can we learn from King Saul? If we want to be godly, then we must choose to not be jealous because of selfish reasons, but because we want people to know Christ.

{Display the poster in the room throughout this series and read it each week.}

Follow Up Activities:

King Saul Persecutes David

Saul is Jealous of David

King Saul Becomes Jealous of David

For more ideas, lessons, coloring pages, games, etc, click to my Old Testament Pinterest board! I’ve found all kinds of fun stuff for you! Follow Future.Flying.Saucers.’s board OT Bible Lessons & Activities for Kids on Pinterest.

**Make sure you SUBSCRIBE to FutureFlyingSaucers so you don’t miss the next lesson. And be sure to share this lesson with your friends. It’s your sharing that helps us spread the gospel around the world!


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6 Prayers For Finding A Godly Spouse

Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

Being single can be hard, especially around Christmas and Valentine’s Day.  It can be lonely watching other men and women embracing one another, holding hands and flirting.

  It is a natural feeling to want those kinds of things, and when we are single it can get lonely.  You can go to many different people and get many suggestions on how to find a spouse, but the only opinion that matters is God’s.

  This is why it is crucial that we take marriage to God in prayer before and during our time searching for a mate.

Here are 6 prayers that you can pray when you are single and searching for that special someone!

It is crucial that we take marriage to God in prayer before and during our time searching for a mate.

I Am Lonely (For The Men)


I am lonely. I feel everyone I know has found a wife and I desperately long to have one of my own.  Lord, You declared in Genesis that it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18).  That is why you made a helper for Adam.

  Father, I long for the affection of a spouse.  I long for intimacy, Lord.  I long for an intimacy that will allow me to love my wife Christ loves His church, that I may give of myself to her so she will have her needs met.

  Father, I long for that sexual, physical, emotional, and intellectual connection that can be had with a woman.  I pray that You lead me to a woman that will love me for me, Father.  Lead me to a woman who fears You, Lord.

  Lead me to a woman who absolutely is in love with You, Father!  I thank You for Jesus, Lord!  I love You, Father!  Amen

I Am Lonely (For The Women)

O Lord,

Where are the men of courage?  Where are the men who aren’t afraid to say “no” to others so they can say “yes” to me?  Father, I so desperately want to have a husband.  Lord, I trust in You and I know that You have my interests in mind.

  Lord, my delight is in You; please grant this desire that is in my heart! (Psalm 37:4)  Father, I am lonely and I yearn for the man who will cherish me.  Father, lead me with strong hands to the man who will walk with me through the good and the bad.

  Father, prepare his heart and my own so that when we find each other we will know that this is only from You!  I love You, Lord!  Amen


Heavenly Father,

You understand my desires of the flesh.  Being single is tough, Father, and I pray that you will help me as I battle sexual temptation.  Lord, I want to save myself for my wife/husband.

  I don’t want to give away such a personal part of me to some woman/man that I won’t spend my life with.  Father, You want me to stay pure until the wedding day, so please give me strength when I am weak.  Give me a way out when sexual feelings bombard me.

  Lord, I need You to walk with me!  Thank You for life, Father!  May my life reflect Your love to others this day.  Amen

Don’t Settle

Dear Lord,

I long for the companionship of a mate, and it is getting so difficult.  I don’t want to settle for someone who You don’t want me with.

  I want a physical connection so bad!  I want to hold hands, kiss and cuddle!  I want hour long conversations at night!  But, I don’t want to settle just to have these things.  Father, please hear my prayer to You!  Guide me to a person who is right for me.

  Guide me to someone who loves You above all things.  Lord, give me strength for today as I continue searching for a spouse.  I love You!  Amen

Be An Example

Holy God,

Being single is a gift.  There is nothing wrong with being single, but I still long for a partner in this life.  Father, while I am waiting, give me strength to endure each day.  Lord, I am Your child.

  I pray that my life can reflect Christ to those around me always.

  Father, I will praise You in this time of singleness and I pray that You will be glorified in all I do this day!  May everyone I meet see You in me today!  And if possible, may my future spouse see me as well!  I love You!  Amen

Keep Dreaming

Blessed Lord,

I am ready to find a mate.  Lord, until the day comes where we meet, I will keep hoping and dreaming.

  I can imagine what our first kiss will feel !  I can imagine how wonderful holding hands will be!  I can imagine how emotionally connected we will be through long conversations!  I can imagine how attractive they will be and outshine all of the rest around me!  Father, I absolutely love You and I want to show that love to a mate!  Guide me to someone who will be good for me.  I love You!  Amen


I hope you have found these prayers helpful.  Stay strong in your singleness!  God has a plan for your life.  Give all of your dreams, hopes and plans to the Lord and let Him lead You.  He wants the best for you and that may require more waiting, but better to wait for a shining gem than to grab a tarnished jewel.  God bless you all as you continue to live a life worthy of the calling!

Related Reading:  True Love: How Do You Know When You Find It

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Prayer For Godly Jealousy For The Things Of God

After the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea, God set before them the high calling He had in view for His people. “Ye shall be holy, for I am holy… ” (Leviticus 11:44). In a world that was given over to the ungodly living that often characterized pagan nations, a holy God called upon His people to set new standards of righteousness — holiness as He is holy!

Should it be any surprise to us that the same language is used in reference to His church in the new covenant! God is unchanging and He asks the church, His people today, to partake of His nature (2 Peter 1:4), to follow His teachings on holiness. “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation: because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16).


One's daily life demands that he seek some standard for righteousness, but what is that standard? Men often use the wrong standard for righteousness.

It would have been so easy for the nation of Israel to have sought to be the nations about them. However, the Lord reminded them that they had been called Egypt (Lev. 11:45), and that they were not to determine righteousness simply by being those nations.

“After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do, and after the doings of the land of Canaan whither I bring you shall ye not do, neither shall ye walk in their ordinances” (Lev. 18:3).

As the history of man has been a history of men not abiding by God's teachings, it is folly to think that righteous standards are to be found in following what others are doing.

God's instructions, “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil” (Exodus 23:2), should remind us that the standard of righteousness is not to be set by doing what most people are doing. Jesus himself shows that most people will not live by God's teachings (Matthew 7:13-14).

Some set as a standard of righteousness the standard taught them by their parents. If parents were sinless then they could serve as the standard, but this simply is not the case (Romans 3:23). Jesus envisioned that following him would sometimes mean turning from parents (Matt. 10:37). Parental teaching, as important as it is, cannot be the standard.

Some have thought that learned men should be the standard. However, Paul states the impossibility of men knowing the things of God apart from God. “What man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him, even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:12). No man knows the things of God! Man cannot determine righteousness!


There is only one standard and that is God! God created man in His image (Genesis 1: 27) and when man fell, God brought about Christianity and designed it so that we would be conformed to His image. As we behold the glory of the Lord we”… are changed into the same image (2 Cor. 3:18). God wants us to be Him! We are to partake of His nature! He is the standard of holiness!


Galatians 5:19-21 lists many of the ungodly practices that have destroyed men of long ago and are yet prevalent in our day. To show how serious these practices are, the list ends with these words, “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21).

Christ's church must abhor these, for to be found guilty of them will bar the doors of heaven. These are the words of a holy God telling us exactly what He wants us to avoid.

There are sexual sins listed — adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness. Adultery is unlawful sex between two people, with at least one of these being married. Fornication is immorality of every sort. It is the Bible word to describe any sort of sexual sin.

Uncleanness literally means impurity and refers to those thoughts and actions that lead to immorality. Lasciviousness means absence of restraint, indecency, and includes unchaste behavior of dress, speech and action.

How unfortunate that men have left God's wonderful design of sex and have perverted it and set up their own standards in this area.

There are the sins of idolatry and witchcraft.

Idolatry can be either the outward worship and service of an image made with hands (see Psalm 115:3-7 for discussion of the folly of such worship) or the covetous service of any material thing (Colossians 3:5).

Witchcraft refers to sorcery, superstition, the occult and horoscopes. To follow such is to deny that God controls this world, that He determines what happens in our lives (Daniel 4:17).

There are sins of attitudes – hatred, variance, emulations, wrath. Hatred is the opposite of love and refers to bitterness of spirit and hostility toward others. Variance is the strife that results from hate. Emulations means jealousy and the uncontrolled desire to have what others have. Wrath is violent anger. Jealousy smolders in the heart, wrath is the same attitude outwardly shown.

There are sins of false teaching and division – strife, seditions, heresies. Strife often brings about factions, and taking of sides and divisions into parties. Seditions literally means “standing apart” and refers to the divisions into selfish groups. Heresy is the teaching of one's opinions that give rise to division.

There are the sins of drunkenness and revellings. Drunkenness is the indulgence in strong drink to which so many are addicted. Revellings are the wild drinking parties that are found in every society.

There are other lists in the Bible (Rom. 1:26-32; Col. 3:5-10), but this list should help us to see that God expects His people to be holy, to have as their standard of righteousness His holy nature.


In the same section of Galatians the Holy Spirit has another list that shows us much of what is involved in holiness. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:21-22). These are attributes of our God that He expects us to have.

Take each of these words, read the Old Testament and you'll find they describe our God. Take each of these words, read the New Testament and see each of them displayed in the life of Jesus. God's standard for holiness has been lived on this earth, we can see it without fault in our Savior.

As he was tempted in every way we are (Hebrews 4:15), it makes no difference when we live or where we live – we have the example of holiness we need! Peter describes this perfect life in these words, “… Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow his steps; who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth; who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not… ” (1 Peter 2:21-23). Christ our example – this is God's visible standard of holiness! We are to be him!


Many today have lost sight of God's holiness and the result is a world of sin. Some who claim to be religious may condone sin but the true church cannot be of this nature. She serves the Lord, she seeks his way and lives by his teachings of morality.

When she ceases to do this he rejects her (Revelation 2:5) and she is as worthless salt, useless in his hands (Mat. 5:13). In an age when society is seeking new lifestyles, when it is seeking a new morality, the church of Christ upholds His standard of holy living.


To what two groups has God said, “Be ye holy, for I am holy?”

What are some wrong standards of holiness? Why are they wrong?

What is the one standard of holiness?

Discuss sexual impurity and examples in our own society.

Give illustrations of idolatry in our own day. Of witchcraft.

Define some sins of attitudes.

What is the fruit of the Spirit? Give examples from the life of Jesus.

What happens when a church ceases to live and teach God's standard of holiness?

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