It was the summer of my senior year of high school, and I had just returned from church camp. I had been dating my boyfriend for about 9 months, and he had absolutely captured my heart. But while at church camp, I knew God was prompting me to break up with him.
I tried, but he talked me out of it. My resolve to follow God melted because I wanted the love of my boyfriend more.
A month later, he ended the relationship, and I was devastated. It took me moving to college over a year later – and meeting my husband Matt – for me to heal.
I’ll never forget knowing full well I was putting my boyfriend above my Lord. Why can’t I have you both? I prayed.
Looking back, I know why God was merciful enough to rescue me from that relationship, even though it meant Him watching His child in such pain. I shudder to think of what my life, 18 years later, would have been like had I remained on that path.
The Throne of My Heart
This wasn’t even about my boyfriend, I can see now. It was about the place he was in my life. He was on the throne of my heart.
And the One who loved me enough to die for me couldn’t allow that to continue.
“Adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? So whoever wants to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy. Or do you think it’s without reason the Scripture says that the Spirit He has caused to live in us yearns jealously? But He gives greater grace” (James 4:4-6a HCSB).
In retrospect, I can see this pattern of spiritual adultery in my life. It started as a teenager but even my most recent repentance had similar characteristics. Whether it be a love of a boy or the desire to be accepted, my heart always chased after the same thing: love.
The Longing to Be Desired
Why are young girls and women fascinated with romantic books and movies? Because we want that fairy tale. We want to be pursued and loved unconditionally. That’s what I had found in my high school boyfriend – for a season – and that’s what I desired so much this summer.
And all the while, there Jesus stands.
The one who loved me not when my hair was perfect or my youth was glowing, but instead while I was the dirtiest of dirty, He wanted a relationship with me so much that died for me (Romans 5:8).
My heart breaks to think that my spiritual adultery has all but told him, “Your love isn’t enough.”
When Jealousy is Love
the Spirit He has caused to live in us yearns jealously (James 4:5)
Why is God a jealous God? It is not a jealousy of being possessive. It’s a jealousy that knows that no one offers a better love than He does. He knows that no relationship, no affirmation, no applause, no earthly form of love, will ever satisfy our deepest longings.
I’m convinced that God allowed my boyfriend to be stripped from my life because my Savior was jealously pursuing my love. I’m convinced that my feelings of rejection of late could be the divine hand of God holding the love I crave from others back so I would turn only to the love that never will let me down.
But He gives greater grace (James 4:6a)
“You are enough,” I am finding myself praying, often through tears. I realize when I’m seeking another’s affection, approval, and love for my satisfaction, I am in my heart saying, Jesus isn’t enough.
Never again do I want to say this in my words, actions, or unspoken yearnings of my heart to my Savior.
Thank you, Jesus, that you pursue me. Thank you, that you offer forgiveness for a heart that has gone astray. Thank you, Jesus, for yearning for my soul jealously. Thank you, Jesus, for giving greater grace. Grace greater than ALL my sins.