You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
-James 4:4-5 ESV
I think we like to avoid uncomfortable situations. I know I do.
Occasionally I'll watch The Office. The other week one guy wanted to break-up with his girlfriend. Break-ups are uncomfortable to begin with, but then doing it at the girlfriends friend's bachelorette party? Way worse. And I was watching it. I told Taylor I couldn't watch, but there I was, watching it...
I think that's why it's easy for us to sometimes avoid certain texts in the Bible. First, James calls the church adulterous people. (Uncomfortable) I think we can think of some more modern terms for that. In essence, those words are what he's calling them. These people are choosing earthly things over God. Earthly things can be a variety of things. Sleep, sports, children, fishing, etc. There things aren't in and of themselves bad things, but when we put them in front of God, they become bad.
Then James describes God as jealous, saying "He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us.". God being described as jealous has confused many people. Oprah and Bill Maher are just a few. Jealousy, like many other words, has two meanings, a positive and negative.
In Gal 5:20 jealousy is listed as an act of a sinful nature. But in 2 Cor 11:2 Paul refers to a jealousy for others, indicating a relationship that he is zealous to keep. This positive attribute would certainly be consistent with a Perfect God.
I am jealous for Taylor. Not of her. What's hers is mine, so I don't have to be jealous of what she has because it's mine too. (Oprah heard God was a jealous God and it turned her away from christianity. She thought God was jealous of her and the things she had, not for her and her best interests.) But if someone is hitting on Taylor and they are trying to steal her attention away from me and our marriage, I have a right to be jealous for her. I want her, what's best for her, and I definitely don't want some other guy around her.
In the same way God wants us. He wants what's best for us. And when something comes around trying to steal our attention away from Him, and we give into that thing, we are going outside of our relationship with God for satisfaction, and in a very real way cheating on God.
I know this was a long post with little humor (I hoped the pictures helped), but the idea of God being a jealous God has confused many and turned them away from God, and I want you to understand the concept.