Posts Tagged ‘Envy

18
May
17

Earthly Wisdom

Good Thursday morning to you! James, after talking about taming the tongue, describes two kinds of wisdom. The first is earthly and demonic. It is marked by selfishness and envy. He writes:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. – James 3:13-14 (NIV)
Rather than using our “wisdom” to gain an advantage over people, we should use everything we have for the good of others. We should be humble and not full of selfish ambition. We should do good deeds for others rather than trying to satisfy our envious desires. That is when we will be using the wisdom God grants for the right purposes.
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24
Aug
16

Church Jealousy

John 3:22-26 (NIV)

After this, Jesus and his disciples went out into the Judean countryside, where he spent some time with them, and baptized. 23 Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized. 24 (This was before John was put in prison.) 25 An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing. 26 They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.”

Church jealousy is never a pretty thing. As a pastor, I can tell you that it is a very real thing. After Jesus’ late-night conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus and His disciples went out into the wilderness and were baptizing people. Jealousy arose among John’s followers because more people were going to Jesus than John.
Leaders and pastors are constantly obsessing over numbers. We are comparing and contrasting the size of our churches with others. We’re missing the point. Did it matter if people were going to John to be baptized or to Jesus to be baptized? Not in the least! The important thing is that people were repenting of their sins and turning to God! Does it matter if XYZ church has 100 members and ABC church has 1000? Not at all! God does not play favorites. The most important thing is that people for whom Christ died are coming to faith in Christ in order to be transformed by Him. What is the measure of success? Is it a larger building or a bigger budget or more bodies in the seats? Or is faithfulness more important than success. A church of 200 may be more faithful to Christ’s mission than a church of 20,000. Drawing a crowd doesn’t necessarily reflect lives being changed.
I want the church to be successful in reaching more people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More than that, I want the church to be faithful in presenting the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As a pastor, I believe that God’s view of success is based more on my faithfully answering my call on a daily basis than it is on someone’s definition of success.
PRAYER: Father, help Your church to be faithful to the mission for which Christ died. Fill Your people with the Holy Spirit and passion for sharing the Gospel. We ask that You would help us to overcome jealousy and envy. May we rejoice as the angels rejoice whenever someone comes to saving faith in Jesus. Amen.
22
Feb
16

Are You In Love With The World?

1 John 2:15-17 (NIV)
 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. 16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. 17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

The world has 3 components that vie for our affections:
  1. The lust of the flesh –  this is a sexual desire or craving that overtakes a person.
  2. The lust of the eyes – this is a covetous desire for what others have.
  3. The pride of life – this is the arrogant boasting about one’s accomplishments and possessions.

John makes it clear that these are only temporary desires that pass away.  When we give in to these desires, we are not doing the will of the Father.  These desires do not come from the Father.

Are these temporary desires sinful?  Only when left unchecked.  You can have a healthy sexual desire for your spouse.  You can appreciate and congratulate someone’s promotion at work.  You can be proud of your accomplishments without boasting over and over about how great you are and how you’re a “self-made” man or woman.  It is when our lust, jealousy and boasting are out of control that we are ensnared by sin.  Lust leads to sex outside of God’s design for marriage.  Envy leads to sinful acts such as robbery and even murder.  Pride ultimately leads to destruction because one will not admit their need of a Savior.  This is what it means to love the things of the world.  If you love the world with all of your heart, then there is no room for Jesus.  His love is eternal.  The things of this world are not.
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, keep me from from the love of this world.  Help me in my weaknesses to love You most of all.  Clean out my heart and make me more like Jesus.  I confess my sinfulness to You and thank You for Your forgiveness.  In the name of Jesus I thank and praise You, amen.
15
Jan
16

Envious

Our attitudes can affect our health.  Too much stress can lead to cardiovascular problems.  Bitterness and anger affects our moods which, in turn, will lead to health issues.  On the other hand, I think that a cheery disposition not only leads to healthier bodies, but it makes those around us more cheerful as well.  What about envy and jealousy?  The book of Proverbs tells us that our attitudes do affect our health.

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
jealousy is like cancer in the bones. — Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)

Have you ever thought of peace and jealousy as opposites?  It’s true.  A heart that is full of envy and jealousy is hardly at peace.  Envy and jealousy make us want what we do not have.  Envy and jealousy are what fuels our desires to keep up with the Joneses and the Smiths.  They create stress in our lives and keep us up at night.  They make us put work before family.  Envy and jealousy make us lose sight of what is most important.  We want the things of this world that do not last instead of focusing on the things of God’s Kingdom which last forever.  Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount that pagans chase after the things of earth that our Heavenly Father knows we need.  He’ll provide for our needs and take care of us each day.  He only asks that we trust Him and find true contentment in Him.  When we are jealous of those around us our eyes are fixated on their stuff.  When we are envious of cars, houses, boats and lands, we lose sight of what really matters.

When are you most envious?

Are you satisfied with what God has provided for you?

With what do you find it hardest to be content?

Pray that God will give you the power and strength in Christ Jesus to be content in all situations and circumstances.

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to be content with all that You have provided.  Keep me free from envy and jealousy.  You know what I need and have provided time and again and I thank You.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

10
Sep
15

The Wrong Kind Of Wisdom

James 3:13-16 (NIV)

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

​​

In chapter 1, James said that we should ask for wisdom:

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. – James 1:5 (NIV)

 Here, in chapter 3, James describes two very different kinds of wisdom.  First, he describes worldly wisdom.  He says that it is:

  • Not from heaven
  • Earthly
  • Unspiritual
  • Demonic

If you want to prove that you are wise, you must show it by your humble deeds done for others.  Deeds done out of selfish ambition or bitter envy do not please God and do not demonstrate wisdom.  They only produce disorder and wickedness.

​God is a God of order and righteousness, not disorder and wickedness.  When we are truly wise, we will know what pleases God – humility and service to others.  When a church is full of bitterness fueled by envy (I want what SHE has!  I want what HE has!) and selfish ambition (I’ll do whatever it takes to get what he/she has!), then you have pride, disorder and ​evil.  
So let us ask for a different kind of wisdom.  A wisdom from Heaven that teaches us to be humble and to look out for others instead of a wisdom that only seeks to satisfy our wicked desires.  
 
PRAYER: Father God, I am in need of the true wisdom that comes from You.  Left to my own devices, I will use my knowledge and “wisdom” to suit my own desires.  Help me to be wise and to use that wisdom to please You only.  Help me to serve others in humility and to live a life of righteousness.  Amen.
19
Jan
12

Envious

Our attitudes can affect our health.  Too much stress can lead to cardiovascular problems.  Bitterness and anger affects our moods which, in turn, will lead to health issues.  On the other hand, I think that a cheery disposition not only leads to healthier bodies, but it makes those around us more cheerful as well.  What about envy and jealousy?  The book of Proverbs tells us that our attitudes do affect our health.

A peaceful heart leads to a healthy body;
jealousy is like cancer in the bones. — Proverbs 14:30 (NLT)

Have you ever thought of peace and jealousy as opposites?  It’s true.  A heart that is full of envy and jealousy is hardly at peace.  Envy and jealousy make us want what we do not have.  Envy and jealousy are what fuels our desires to keep up with the Joneses and the Smiths.  They create stress in our lives and keep us up at night.  They make us put work before family.  Envy and jealousy make us lose sight of what is most important.  We want the things of this world that do not last instead of focusing on the things of God’s Kingdom which last forever.  Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount that pagans chase after the things of earth that our Heavenly Father knows we need.  He’ll provide for our needs and take care of us each day.  He only asks that we trust Him and find true contentment in Him.  When we are jealous of those around us our eyes are fixated on their stuff.  When we are envious of cars, houses, boats and lands, we lose sight of what really matters.

When are you most envious?

Are you satisfied with what God has provided for you?

With what do you find it hardest to be content?

Pray that God will give you the power and strength in Christ Jesus to be content in all situations and circumstances.




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