He is Jealous for Me, Grant Jenkins

Today’s “How He Loves” post is from Grant Jenkins, aka An Idol Heart. Grant is a fellow Cross Pointer who I met via twitter and blogging several months before our paths crossed “in real life.” I admire how Grant publicly wrestles with finding peace, purpose, and self-worth in Christ. Alone.

Find his blog here.

And his twitter here.

jealous |ˈjeləs|adjective.
fiercely protective or vigilant of one’s rights or possessions

He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight and wind of his mercy

I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was the week of January 11, 2010 when God, in His great mercy, allowed me to see the condition of my heart. The jig was up.

Finally, after 8 months of becoming increasingly aware that I had allowed my career to become an idol in my heart … after 8 months of trying to act like I could still make it work… after 8 months of trying to hold band-aids on an open wound… I broke.

I broke hard.

My chest was tight.

My breath was shallow.

My mind and emotions were in a tailspin.

What words I did speak were spoken through tears

The thought of taking one more step in the direction I had been headed was overwhelming.

What had I become?

Whatever it was, it was not pretty.

The part of me that knew this was coming was relieved it was finally here.  The part of me that wanted desperately to keep feeding the image monster and project the appearance of success was scared to death.

Who would I be now?

It didn’t matter. I just knew I no longer wanted to be THIS.

In what seemed like an instant, I deeply understood what God meant when He said Israel had “played the whore.” It wasn’t that they didn’t love Him.  It was that they didn’t love him MORE.  It was that they had placed him on a level playing field with all their self-made gods, and their affections were up for grabs.

In that moment, I vividly understood the picture God was painting by telling Hosea to go marry Gomer the prostitute.

“The Lord said to Hosea, Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord” Hosea 1:2

He was using Hosea’s story to show us how He felt loving His people. Marrying Gomer the prostitute wasn’t anything special in and of itself.  People get married all the time. The weight of the story is that he LOVED her. Those are two very different things. God wanted Hosea to know how it felt to love someone who was unfaithful, be committed to someone who wasn’t committed in return and to be a father to children he didn’t produce. He was teaching Hosea the righteous jealousy of an unfaithful, unrequited love that was rightfully his.

That was me.

On this particular day, for the first time ever in my life, I could feel the weight of my whorish heart in the light of the jealousy of God.

“You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” Exodus 20:4-5

He was jealous for me.

It wasn’t that I didn’t love God…

It was that I didn’t love him MORE than all that other crap that I had allowed to accumulate in my heart.  It was that He was competing for my affections with what I thought made me look good and gave me the appearance of success. I had fallen more in love with what had been given to me than with the One who gave it.

I was at once both undone and done.  Completely.

It was a moment of lucidity I hope I never forget as long as I live, and one that continues to shape and filter my life each and every day.

Have you ever considered what it means for God to be jealous for you? He is the jealous lover of our souls, who looks on in bewilderment, confusion and disappointment as we flirt with and allow our hearts to be seduced by lesser lovers who have no legal or spiritual claim to what we are so quick to freely give.

He sees the way your heart flutters when it catches the gaze of the latest would-be suitor who speaks eloquently of security and promises hope; and He sees you lying broken on the floor in a pool of disillusionment, as once again, disappointed, dejected and detached, you struggle to pry your heart away from another broken promise and unfulfilled dream that you foolishly tried to replace Him with.  He sees it all… and yet He waits… and loves in spite of your whorish heart’s attempts to attach hope to something it can see.

God is not jealous OF you. He doesn’t want your stuff.

He is jealous FOR you. He wants your heart. It is His. He made it for Himself.

What is He having to dig through to get to it?

He loves us, Oh, how He loves us!

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Lindsey has a sincere love for her precious dogs Molly and Maisy, a good red wine and the Delta Sky Club.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • I’m growing weary of my “other lovers.” Great sentence about God competing for my affections. Why do I even find attraction to these lesser lovers? Instant gratification? Maybe. Lack of trust in my constant love? More so?

    I think I give too much weight to the lies of my self-worth. Too often, I think that I’m only worth “prostituting.” I am so thankful for a God who is pursuing my soul, forever. I am so thankful that God constantly provides a different example of love for me.

    • "so thankful for a God who is pursuing my soul, forever. I am so thankful that God constantly provides a different example of love for me." me too…

    • Thanks for sharing this, Tracee. That's a powerful statement about sometimes thinking we are only worth "prostituting". To be pursued by the only one who knows our true, eternal worth is priceless.
      My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • Grant, I love your heart and your honesty. I have read your story to numerous people. I felt that it was appropriate to let you know that God is using you to encourage others.
    My recent post I Am A Jerk

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  • I'm in tears here, because in some ways this just hits too close to home. Now I HAVE to go play with the kids and try not to think about this more until later when I can process it.

    • Andie, That is the worst feeling. Hope you found time to process your emotions.

    • Sounds like you connected with this in a really significant way, Andie. Saying a prayer for you.
      My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

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  • “He sees it all…and yet He waits…and loves in spite of your whorish heart’s attempts to attach hope to something it can see.”
    I have to admit I was taken aback. Last night I laid in bed talking to God…saying that I didn’t know why I couldn’t just trust Him. But there it is. I have trouble trusting what I can’t see and that leaves me with an empty pit in my stomach. Where do you turn when you want to just crumple up in His arms & be comforted?

    • I struggle with the trust thing too. So easy to say, much harder to do.

    • definitely much harder to do than say. I fail at it much more often than I succeed. I've learned there is no formula. It is a process of learning to let go and trust God in 24 hour, and sometimes 60 minute, increments. Saying a prayer for you, Morgan.
      My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • Brilliant, Grant — as always!

    This was what brought it home the most for me — "God is not jealous OF you. He doesn’t want your stuff.
    He is jealous FOR you. He wants your heart. It is His. He made it for Himself. What is He having to dig through to get to it?" Amen!!!!!!!

    Perhaps what God's intention was in the job situation, is to breathe life into a writing career for you, Grant.
    My recent post $41 Fast Food Fast

    • JD, thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement, as always. Interestingly enough, although a "writing career" is the furthest thing from my mind, you are certainly not the first person to suggest that. That is not in my plans at all, but stranger things have happened. 🙂
      My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • absolutely love that picture of God just waiting for us even though He sees it all and even though we have turned all sorts of other things that don't satisfy like He does. wonderful post!

  • "It was that they had placed him on a level playing field with all their self-made gods, and their affections were up for grabs."

    i instantly saw myself here. immediately i visualized the times i do this. and i probably dont even realize all of them.

    oh, how my heart can be so fickle.

    grant – thank you for this butt kicking post!
    My recent post 2nd annual fort contest

    • Thank you so much, Tam. I'm in the same boat. In fact, just the other day I sent a text to a friend just saying, "Holy $#!%, my heart is so wicked!" 🙂
      My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • i so badly want to truly GET this. it feels impossible for me to grasp that He is jealous for me. i don't know that i've ever felt the receiving end of "jealous for" before. but i have been on the jealousy side of the equation. i know how unbridled and consuming it can be. and wow… the thought of God feeling that way about me?! so hard to even fathom…

    and so i find myself praying yet again — "help me overcome my unbelief."

  • This might be the most important season of your life Grant. Your response to it is shown by this post. Can't wait to see what's next for you.
    My recent post The Twitter Commandments Part 1

    • I totally agree with Wes. I know this season is not probably fun, but you will look back on it and see how God has transformed you 🙂 thanks for letting us in on the journey!
      My recent post Trafficking: The Not-So-Subtle Violation of a Person’s Soul

      • I hate agreeing with Wes. But he is right. There I said it.

    • I agree with you 100%, dude. I can stand here at this moment and be honestly thankful for every single disappointment and moment where I felt so disconnected and forgotten. Those are the moments I have learned to reach for Him and have found Him. Thank you so much for your encouragement and friendship, brother.
      My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • Amazing post Grant.

    It's out of love that Jesus (through the Holy Spirit) convicts us of our sinful ways…

    It's out of love He calls us to repentance…

    It's out of love He wants us to belong to Him alone!
    My recent post How Important is Repentance?

  • Makeda

    Grant, I read this post early this morning before I left for work and had so many emotions and thoughts flood my heart and head that I could not post my response right away. I love your heart and the honesty you have shown here. I once told you that your courage would beget courage in others. This post has beget much courage in my own heart as I must admit to recently allowing my heart to be drawn to a false sense of security not anchored in the Father's love. I loved something more than I loved the Father and it drew my heart away from Him. Your words convicted me today and both challenged and encouraged me as I make my way back to my first love. Thank you for these words. They were exactly what I needed to hear today.

    Like others who have posted here I also look forward to seeing what God has in store for you. Your obedience in this season has been inspiring to watch. I know that for you, my friend, greater things are yet to come. Sending you much love and much gratitude from the Carolinas.

    • wow. Thank you for your honesty, my friend. I appreciate your heart and your kind words. Saying a prayer for you tonight, as well, Makeda.
      My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • Candace

    Beautiful. Clarity.

  • dang this post can preach right here! thanks for writing this!
    My recent post 6.22.10 chococreamfries.

  • Thank you. I really appreciate it.
    My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • Alece, it ebbs and flows with me. Some days it seems as far away as the moon, while other days I can't even get past "He is jealous for me" in the "How He Loves" song before I fall apart and it feels as close as my skin.
    My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • Great post, Grant. Well done.
    My recent post July 7th: God's day to dink

  • haha! And there is documented proof, here on the interweb. 🙂
    My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • You're right, Paul. Him and Him alone.
    My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • Thanks, Jason. I appreciate it. It seems like the ones that connect the most are the ones that hurt the most to live.
    My recent post He Is Jealous For Me

  • competition, jealousy… sometimes it makes me sick to my stomach how my own human ambition forces the hand of God into arenas He'd rather not go. because He has purposed to continue the pursuit in spite of my neglect and immaturity. He refuses to let go, even when i've left little room in my heart for Him… He loves.
    thanks for reminding us through your story that He loves.
    My recent post 33 years…

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