“I say then, Have they (speaking of the Jews) stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.” (Romans 11:11)
What provokes one person to be jealous of another? Normally, that one has something the other wants. What could Christians have that would provoke the Jewish people to jealousy?
The answer is: sometimes nothing. Sadly. Sometimes Christians are miserable sad sacks, complaining and depressed. Other times, Christians don’t believe they can overcome sin, and so the world goes on, continuing its sad descent downwards. In my lifetime, I have seen things that I never even dreamed of when I was young. To see the problems that we have in the world these days, it is often clear to a Christian of a certain age that satan has taken hold of our planet and is quickly taking total control and dragging it down to hell. Many people are just following along with the crowd like little lost lambs.
As we, being Christians, watch these things happen, verses from the Holy Scriptures come to mind. In His amazing kindness, God gave us descriptions of these times and explanations of what is actually going on. We read the following verses from Revelation 12:
“And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.”
In heaven, Michael and his angels won the battle with satan and his angels. So, now that the old devil is on earth, we are stuck with it. What are we going to do? Go along with the whole world, all of whom are deceived by him? That would be a complete travesty. No! We MUST use the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. How so? The blood of the Lamb is his life. Our testimony is our life lived. What are we doing with the life of Jesus? Are we living according to the principles that he taught us? He died a supremely cruel death in order to leave us the testimony of his life. Are we supposed to think that we are forgiven and saved and therefore just look for blessings?
We have to live the life that Jesus taught and lived himself. He had requirements of his early disciples. We can find out what those requirements are. That battle that was fought and won in heaven is now raging on earth. We have to continue the battle. Yet, it’s not us battling, but Jesus in us. It’s his life, his words, his testimony, but if we don’t live it, how are we any different from the rest of the world? We would be heading down the same path as them. The New Testament emphasizes that we have to overcome. When we do, and when people meet us and FEEL Jesus’ life, then they will wonder, “what’s so different about this person?” “Why do I feel so different when he/she is around?” That’s what provokes a person to jealousy. That’s what makes that person we met want whatever it is that we have. That’s what overcomes this world.
Let’s allow Jesus’ life to live through us. Let’s provoke others to jealousy, not because of the nice car or the super house we have, or even because we can sing and praise God more loudly than the next guy, but because of the life we are living, proof positive that Jesus’ life works!