The Herald, Sharon, Pa.


December 7, 2012

Are you a CINO? You can tell by what’s important to you

From the Pulpit

---- — So think about your spouse. Let’s say you’re a female and you see a really attractive man, well built, funny, but you are a married woman. But you say to yourself, “I love my husband very much, more than anything. But that guy is so attractive. It couldn’t hurt to ask him out to dinner or a drink. Maybe we can even get together and spend the night. My husband wouldn’t mind, he knows I love him with all my heart.”

Isn’t that a ridiculous thought? A crazy idea? How would you expect the husband to feel when he found out? “Oh, it’s OK, she loves me and she tells me she does every day.” No he wouldn’t. He’d say, “What you say certainly doesn’t add up to what you do. Your actions speak way louder than words.” And wouldn’t you expect the husband to be jealous? Of course you would.

Now, people tell me all the time, “If God is such a big and powerful God, then why is He jealous? What is He so paranoid about?” Deuteronomy 4:24 tells us: “For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.”

There is a difference between a sinful jealousy and a holy jealousy.

Sinful jealousy is the desire to have something that doesn’t belong to us, or another word for it is envy. When we want something God has not given to us, such as other people’s fame or material goods or job or favor or spouse, that is a sin. Sometimes we see this in a jealous person who wants all the attentions of their loved one to be directed to themselves. I have seen people who fly into a rage when they learn that their spouse or significant other has talked on the phone with anyone, or had any kind of conversation with a third person. Such a jealous person desires to have a level of exclusivity that doesn’t belong to them.

Holy jealousy means that one is appropriately possessive of something that belongs to him or her. For example, I am not willing to share my wife’s heart or body with any other man because she is mine. I’m happy to share her gifts and energies with the body of Christ and the larger world, but I want her heart and soul to be exclusively mine. That is a kind of holy and entirely appropriate jealousy. A God-type jealousy.

So when God says He is jealous for you, it means He is very possessive of us because we belong to Him and Him alone. When we go off after other things, He is jealous of that and wants us to repent and come home.

Now, in what way can we act that would cause God to be jealous? Let’s ask one question to see where God ranks in your life. The question is, “Is God important to you?” If the answer is yes, then let’s ask one more question: “Is God the most important thing in your life?” Those are two different questions.

We say we love God. We may go to church, read the Bible, but do we live for Christ? Do we live as if He is the most important thing of our life.

This last election I got into a discussion with a guy who asked me if I was Democrat or Republican. I told him neither, I was independent and vote for the best candidate according to biblical principles. He voted according to the economy. I told him that was fine, because God isn’t the most important thing in your life. Money is.

God is most important to me. That’s why I couldn’t vote for a man who supports the murdering of unborn children and for homosexual marriage. No matter what party. Or race. It’s not biblical.

Is he important to you? Do you live your life according to biblical principles or do you live your life by seeking things of lesser light and fleeing shadows? Republicans call politicians that say they’re Republican but vote contrary to the platform RINOs. It means Republican in Name Only. Are you a CINO, a Christian in Name Only?

Do you love God more than anything? Are you willing to give up your drunkenness, living together, hatred, prejudice or sinful jealousies? Will you do it because God is first? He is jealous for you. Even for the CINO.

Joe Marzano is pastor of Grace in the Wilderness Fellowship, Shenango Township.

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