God yearns jealously for the spirit that He has made to dwell in us. (James 4:5, NRSV)
God has given us a “spirit . . . to dwell within us.” The Letter of James doesn’t define this “spirit” exactly, but seems to be saying that it is both the attitude and the ability to be humble before God, and, therefore, others. It could also be the character of God—perhaps even the Holy Spirit! Despite the fact that we have this God-given spirit within us, we often let self-centered attitudes, fear, and trust in self and the world’s values hold sway in our decision-making and our actions. God is “jealous,” because He sees us ignoring our relationship with Him, and the good gifts he has given us, for the sake of other gods we have manufactured for ourselves. He “jealously yearns” for us to be the people He has created us to be and has made it possible for us to be. He continues to love us and offer us what we need to return to Him, and to our true selves. “He gives all the more grace.” (James 4:6b)
Loving, Jealous Lord, by your grace, give us whatever it takes to know your love for us and to use and enjoy the gift of the spirit you have made to dwell in us. Amen.
– Fr. Larry Parrish, St. Thomas Episcopal Church