James 3:13-18 ESV - 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. 18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Note: if it seems as though I am bouncing back and forth between James and Psalm 119, it’s possibly because these are the two places I am “storing up” (Psalm 119:11) currently . . .
We all know how we like to think bitter jealousy and selfish ambition manifest . . . .but wait . . .
when I find myself becoming critical of vacation posts on social media or luscious restaurant food (or even daily running entries for pity’s sake!) isn’t that jealousy? isn’t that envious of something that God has not given me, rather than being grateful for what He has given?
Honesty time — I have to consciously keep myself from clicking on the statistic page of this blog, to see how many views, how many more or less than last week, what topic gets more views, what is less popular, etc. I started this blog in response to Psalm 73:28 ESV – 28 But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. There is no “popularity number” on that obedience. Selfish ambition wants notoriety. If God wants me to have a larger platform, He will open the door.
Some disorder and vile practice -- anger self-pity hypocrisy believing lies critical
King David encountered this very temptation (jealousy and selfish ambition) while he was a hunted fugitive (hunted by king Saul) Psalm 142:1-7 ESV - A Maskil of David, when he was in the cave. A Prayer. 1 With my voice I cry out to the LORD; with my voice I plead for mercy to the LORD. 2 I pour out my complaint before him; I tell my trouble before him. 3 When my spirit faints within me, you know my way! In the path where I walk they have hidden a trap for me. 4 Look to the right and see: there is none who takes notice of me; no refuge remains to me; no one cares for my soul. 5 I cry to you, O LORD; I say, "You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living." 6 Attend to my cry, for I am brought very low! Deliver me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me! 7 Bring me out of prison, that I may give thanks to your name! The righteous will surround me, for you will deal bountifully with me.
David is frustrated. He feels lonely and abandoned. He feels like no one on earth gives a fig about whether he lives or dies (or ever gets out of that cave).
I follow David’s example, and cry out to my God, who I know sees me and cares for me, whether I feel it or not. I declare that God is my refuge because that is what is true. I grab on to the wisdom that is from above as James describes, especially “open to reason” . . . God, I want you to show me where I am believing lies and falling into the sin of self-pity. I want my thinking to be open to Your changing to what is right and true and godly. I welcome Your conviction — You provide repentance and restoration to save me from the deadly effects of jealousy and selfish ambition.
You are my God, and I praise You. You are my God, and I exalt You.
Pray for the Persecuted Church–OpenDoorsUSA
Day 5: Ask God to comfort Christians in Oman who
are lonely, or who are currently living at great risk for
Daily Wisdom Psalm 76-79 Proverbs 16