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Friday, October 7, 2016

Four Ways Envy Will Damage My Life

In review of James 3:16 it says, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder (unrest, rebellion) and every evil thing”

Bottom Line:
When jealousy and selfish ambition take over, it causes all kinds of trouble and cruel actions.

What this means to me:
I need to keep myself in check and ask the Holy Spirit to convict me when I start being jealous or promoting my own selfish ambition. It will only result in trouble and unkind actions.

Today's verse comes from the last part of James 3. In it James speaks of how true wisdom in life comes from God. He tells us that if we are wise and understand God's ways, we should prove it by living an honorable life and doing the good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. When we are bitterly jealous and we have selfish ambition in our hearts, we shouldn't cover up the truth with boasting and lying (or justifying ourselves.) For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, disorder and evil will be present. The wisdom that comes from above is pure, peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.  Those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.

Rick Warren points out that the number one thing that holds me back from God’s purpose and mission for my life is the very subtle sin of envy. When I envy others, I become so fixated on what I don’t have and what I’m not, that I totally miss God’s plan.

Rick points out that there are four ways envy will damage my life. Acknowledging them and asking the Holy Spirit to keep accountable will help me eliminate them from my life.

First, envy denies my uniqueness. Psalm 139:13-16 says, “You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb …. Your workmanship is marvelous .... You watched me as I was ... woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (NLT). Envy blinds me to my own giftedness and uniqueness. But God didn’t make me to be like somebody else. God made me to be me.

Secondly, envy will divide my attention. I cannot follow God’s purpose and focus on others at the same time. I’ll have a divided allegiance, and not get anything done in life. Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money.

Thirdly, envy will waste my time and energy. Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 says, “I have also learned why people work so hard to succeed: it is because they envy the things their neighbors have. But it is useless. It is like chasing the wind .... Here is someone who lives alone. He has no son, no brother, yet he is always working, never satisfied with the wealth he has. For whom is he working so hard ...? This is useless, too — and a miserable way to live” (GNT).

Lastly, envy will lead me to other sins. Envy can destroy everything and everyone around you. Today’s verse reminds me, “Where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder (unrest, rebellion) and every evil thing” (James 3:16a AMP). At the heart of the problem is a problem of the heart. Envy is a heart problem. Any time you envy you have gotten your worship misguided, because envy is a form of worship. It says, “I desire that. I want that. I love that. I want to live for that.” That’s called worship. And anytime that item is not God, it becomes an idol.

Today I will need to consider, “what am I worshiping? Am I worshiping God and his grace in my life? Or am I worshiping what I want from others and things?”