Loving Possessiveness

This entry first appeared on October 22, 2013, in my former blog. It recently got resurrected from an old FB conversation, so I thought I’d re-post it here. 😉

* * * *

We’re attending the local Victory Christian Fellowship chapter. Their current series is entitled “The God Nobody Wants” wherein God is pictured as Holy, Jealous and Just–characteristics of Him which we do not exactly want, especially in view of our current sinfulness and unworthiness. We WANT Him kind, loving, merciful and forgiving. And while He is all those descriptions, He is NOT only those.

This week focused on God’s jealousy. You know, not all of the Church’s talks resonate with me all the time. Some Sundays, I just sit there and listen passively to the preachings. Other Sundays, they just impact deeply on me. Last Sunday was one of those epiphanous ones.  You see, God’s jealousy has been an unresolved question in my mind for quite a while, and now that I’ve finally understood, I just want to organize my thoughts on it. Hence this reflection paper. 😛

The first time I heard of God being a jealous God was back in 2001. During gospel sharing with my roommates, KB’s mom quoted Exodus 20:5, wherein God Himself declared that He is a jealous God. It bothered me, thinking of God as seloso and inggitero (based on my personal knowledge of what being “jealous” is). I tried to comprehend what it meant; I even asked a priest who berated me for entertaining such thoughts. Thus, I was not only lost, I felt guilty as well. 😦 In the end, I just decided to let it pass. No point picking my brains over something which made me feel bad. 😮

Finally after more than a decade, I understood what it meant. I haven’t thought about God being a jealous One in a while. I have stopped searching for answers to it. I was just listening to today’s preaching, when suddenly, it just dawned on me. (Amazing lang! 😀 Sa loob-loob ko, gusto kong sumigaw ng “Eureka!” 😛 ) It was then that I remembered that gospel-sharing evening I had with my roommates.

From merriam-webster.com.

jeal·ous\ˈje-ləs\, adjective

  1. a : intolerant of rivalry or unfaithfulness. b : disposed to suspect rivalry or unfaithfulness
  2. hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage
  3. vigilant in guarding a possession

The first couple of definitions of jealousy are the more familiar and rather negative ones. The third definition, that of being vigilant in guarding a possession, is often overlooked. The word “jealous” actually derives from Middle English jelous, Anglo-French gelus, Vulgar Latin zelosus, and the Late Latin zelus, from which the more positive “zeal” (fervor, eagerness, ardent interest) is also derived.

So if we are to take that third–and lesser known–definition of jealousy, then God must mean that He is vigilant in guarding us. And if we are to consider the word’s shared origins with “zeal”, then God’s vigilant guard over us is done so, with all fervor and eagerness! 😀

The preaching also quoted from 2 Corinthians 11:2 (“For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. For I married you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.”) God likens His relationship with us, to that between a husband and a wife. Selosa akong tao (by the first definition 😛 ). Thank God, my husband is trustworthy and I am SO secure in his love for me! 🙂 And because I am his wife, I can hope expect that he will always look out for my best interests, that he will favor me above anyone else, prioritize me and protect me as best as he could.

Using more earthly metaphors, if one purchases a car, he would have a garage built for it, one with a roof to protect it from the elements, and a gate to keep away thieves. He would equip it with burglar alarms and CCTV. He would polish his car everyday, drive it safely on the road, bring it to the shop regularly for a tune-up, and prettify it with accessories! 😀 All these things he would do for his precioussss (say it ala Gollum 😛 ), which he purchased with hard-earned money.

The same holds true for other things we value: gadgets for which we’d buy screen protectors and casings and upgrade with the latest apps; books we’d cover with plastic and place high in shelves where grubby fingers cannot reach them 😛 ; toys (!!!!) we’d very cautiously play with, and perhaps not share with other people who will not handle them with the same TLC 😛 ; pretty and delicate ornaments we’d house in eskaparates, expensive jewelry we’d keep under lock and key.

If one could do these things for material things, then how much more could/would a spouse do for his wife/her husband, whose affection he has wooed/whose love she has sought? How much more would God do for a people He created, loved, constantly forgave and bought with a price!

Now I understand what God meant by being a jealous (zealous) God. He is not seloso nor inggitero. It is not an ego trip on His part, nor is He selfish and insecure. Rather, His jealousy is of a loving possessiveness, intended for our well-being and betterment. It is still in line with His character as a good, kind, loving and merciful God.

And I WANT that kind of God–-One who will fiercely protect me, not only from external and physical harm, but also from internal decay; One who will zealously pursue me, guard me with all vigilance, and keep me from being overcome by the enemy. Because I am His creation, His cherished possession, His precious, His beloved. ♥


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