“I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before Me. Do not bow down to them, do not let anyone make you serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.”Exodus, 20:2
If we understand the full meaning of spiritual adultery, we can get the whole importance of living before God as the “Fear of God”, recognizing the justice of the exclusive love of God.
Once I heard this celebrity, Oprah, say in her show that God couldn’t be jealous.
She was spreading, from her ignorance (best case scenario, being very generous with her), the worldly view on the spiritual life, which basically is: I can have a good relationship with God, but not just too much. That is the lukewarm treat, the comfortable stance that pays some tribute to a false god, not the Creator of all things, but this vague entity that is helping us in the fulfillment of our plans. No humility, no contrition, no real virtue. And, therefore, there is no true peace and joy in this.
The exclusivity of the spiritual life with the Lord is the most precious thing about it because it is the wisdom of living before Him alone. That is the real spiritual alliance, made with Noah, Abraham, Moses, and perfected with Jesus Christ, the Son that lives the perfect life before the Father.
Idols of our hearts
Spiritual discernment sometimes can be tricky.
When we talk about the idols, the false gods, people think about pagan gods from ancient mythologies. What we need to understand is that spiritually speaking idolatry is much more an internal disposition than external behavior. We live in multiple dimensions of existence: we have physical bodies, we have rational minds, and we have a free spirit. Idolatry, or spiritual adultery, is not a product of our actions in the physical world, nor is a thought or intellectual process in our minds, but is a belief in our hearts. It is very common for our beliefs to generate some consequences in our mental and physical realities, but that is not necessary. The spiritual life is not the life of the body or the mind, but the life of the heart, the life of our freedom to believe what we want to believe. And this is why spiritual discernment can be challenging, because people have the costume to value more what they do, think or speak about, ignoring the source of all actions and thoughts, that is the spiritual belief in their hearts.
When the Lord declares that he is the only God, He is saying something very important spiritually: that the meaning of all our existence can be found in Him as our Creator and as loving Father. All other relationships that we have are relations with creatures, and that means that nothing should occupy the place of the Lord in our hearts.
When the Lord says we shall have no other gods before Him, it is just because that is a lie that we tell ourselves, and it is a rejection of His Love. The Lord is always the Lord, He never changes. We just miss His uniqueness and get lost in spiritual confusion. But we are still, always, living before Him. The truth is inescapable. Our job, spiritually, is to surrender to that truth, which is the truth of Love, uncontrollable, inexplicable, incomprehensible Love. This is why it is so important to get the truth of Humility in the early phases of our spiritual life.
The Lord says we should not bow to the fake gods, and not let anyone make us serve them. He wants to liberate us from the lies of adultery, and from the suffering consequences of that lifestyle in adultery. It is easy to do this against obvious fake gods, but can we realize the idolatry that rules our current world? The Naturalism, the Humanism, the Gnosticism? The overall spreading apostasy and disregard for the Lord everywhere, including inside religion?
Idols are void, illusions produced and nurtured by and in our hearts. Don’t look outside of you, but inside, for your own beliefs, and check yourself if there is any compromise with any belief that contradicts the Love of God as the meaning of life. And look for the most insidious idolatry of our times: the very disregard of spiritual awareness by accepting the modest limitations of the Naturalistic idolatry. That is a lie. God is not in debt to show Himself, but you are always in need of Him.
You can live your lie and believe in it, but you can’t transform a lie into the truth.
You can hide from Love, but you can’t escape it.
Salvation is the surest thing
The good, precious and sweet side of God’s jealousy is that you can expect to be saved by His Love as the surest thing in your entire life.
We talked about this before, reviewing the Book of Genesis, when Jacob received the name of Israel.
Basically, if you fulfill the First Commandment and give the justice of recognizing the Love of God by loving Him back and living an exclusive spiritual relationship with Him, believing that He is the One who Is and that you are always living before Him, then you can literally expect everything from God.
Living by Grace gives us peace and joy because we are not pretending to be living a life of chance anymore, nor a life of conquests by our merits. Liberated from idolatry, you can expect Love from God and nothing more, and this purity of your belief is the correspondent attitude to the jealousy from God.
You are doing your part, so you are confident that God is going to do His part, as by the way He always did. This is also a precious thing: even if we fall short of Faith eventually, we can run back to God in repentance and contrition, because we can fail and be weak, but He never changes His Love, and this is why the Lord is also called our Fortress, or our Rock.
We get to the point of not even care anymore about our failures, if we just keep Faith enough that we are always with Him. It is close to impossible to explain this to the unfaithful, as psychic people tend to believe that we are lucky to have our peace and joy… but as it is written, the wisdom will justify its own deeds.