When I was in seventh grade I fell in love for the first time and adversely learned what unrequited love was for the first time.
I was crazy about a guy who I sat next to in my math class. He made me laugh, and he had beautiful green eyes that lit up when his wide smile was shown. Everything a thirteen-year-old girl could want. I thought this guy was the one, just as one does when in middle school and thinking they know the whole of the world. I was so set on this guy, I talked about him nonstop to anyone and everyone: my mom, my friends, the poor person I sat next to in English class, anyone who would listen—I wanted them to know how wonderful I thought this thirteen-year-old boy was and how he was going to be my boyfriend someday.
However, there was only one problem with this boy—he was a flirt. He would flirt with every little middle school girl that gave him a chance and thus I was one of many for him, so for the first time I also learned what soul crushing relational jealousy felt like. I say soul crushing, because that’s what it was. I was jealous of any other girl he made laugh, or any other girl he showed that bright smile to, and it consumed me. It took me over. I wanted to be the only one. I wanted to be his only one like he was mine.
That boy and I never worked out. I was perpetually put into his group of many and he was forever placed as my one and only, at least until middle school ended.
This narrative about my middle school romantic life has a purpose other than to make myself cringe at the memory, I promise.
I would like to wager that any number of you reading this has known this feeling. Whether as a blossoming teenage girl with a teenage boy like me or vice-versa, or perhaps in a friendship, or even in seeking a job that you thought was the perfect fit for you but those hiring seemed to think otherwise. A feeling of jealousy has washed over you, at the many other girls, or the friend spending time with other people, or the person who got the job instead of you.
I would like you to draw up that experience. It may be uncomfortable, looking back on it you may recall how bad the feeling was or how you wished you hadn’t had to feel that way, or that you had been smarter than to allow someone into your life who would make you feel that way. Now, I would like you to consider the following scripture,
“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”
Remember that feeling of jealousy, remember its affect on you, remember the magnitude of it, that feeling of thinking you deserve this thing, and multiply that by infinity and more. That is how Jesus feels for us.
When we live in this world and trust in this world, we are no better than that flirtatious boy who had many teenage girls at his beck and call, we are him. We have someone namely a man who died so that we may live, who counts us as His one and only. He wants to tell everyone about us and wants us to be his forever. He is jealous for us. He wants our heart. He wants our requited love. He wants our communication. He wants our life. He wants our trust. He wants our entire being. He took on our sin as a blameless man and died “the greatest sinner of all time” according to Luther, all because he was so jealous for our life.
Now I ask you to revisit those feelings of jealousy again, how you so desperately wanted to prevail, to be the one the boy, the friend, the job turned to and accepted. So does Jesus desire of us. His desire is that we might turn to him and that he might be our one and only as we are His; that we might want to talk endlessly of him and to him and be his for eternity.
When we stop turning to the many things of this world, acting like that boy who broke my heart, we receive that which we so desperately seek—prevailing as the one and only of Jesus. And the beauty of it all is that unlike my placing this boy as my one and only until middle school ended, we won’t stop being his one and only. If we give him the trust he desires in earnest and stop communing with this world more than him, it won’t just be until the “end of middle school” that this is true, it will be for eternity. He is jealous for us, and that is the most beautiful truth of this world.
CH Spurgeon in his devotional Morning and Evening says,
“To abide in him only, this is true love; but to commune with the world, to find sufficient solace in our carnal comforts, to prefer even the society of our fellow Christians to secret intercourse with him, this is grievous to our jealous Lord. He would fain have us abide in him, and enjoy constant fellowship with himself; and many of the trials which he sends us are for the purpose of weaning our hearts from the creature, and fixing them more closely upon himself.”
CH Spurgeon, Morning and Evening, Morning, September 12th
Spurgeon calls on us to give in to this jealous Lord who wants us. That we might enjoy constant fellowship with him, in order that we stop relying on the things of this world that will ultimately disappoint, and turn to him for truth, hope, and comfort.