We all know people who can’t wait to talk behind the backs of those in authority over them. If we’re honest, that person has likely been us in certain circumstances. We all know people who are filled with hatred for those who have more money, more talent, or more friends. Chances are if we’re honest, we’ve all had those feelings about someone at some time. We tend to conjure up reasons why we are more deserving and then complain about how we’ve been neglected. Of course it’s not really possible that God has made a mistake. If our perception is true, and a bad person has reaped the reward of status or success beyond what seems fair, the truth is, that’s God’s design. As followers of Jesus, we are to trust not curse God’s plan even when we don’t understand His choices.
“If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.” James 3:14-15 (NIV)
Indeed, as Christians, envy and jealousy should be avoided like poison. There is absolutely no value in these emotions. They are only diversions created by the devil to direct your attention away from God and onto yourself. Nothing good comes from following this path.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16 (NIV)
If you’ve traveled this road, you know precisely what can go wrong and how crippling the obstacles can be along the way. When these thoughts surface, push them aside. When others try to engage you in a conversation that’s moving in the wrong direction, walk away. Be thankful for everyone’s good fortune and trust fully that God has provided for each of his creations in the right measure. Seek the wisdom of God, don’t fall victim to the false temptation of the devil.
“Wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” James 3:17 (NIV)
In so much as it is within your power, do everything possible to direct others away from envious talk. Use your wisdom from God to make peace. In so doing, your loving heart will have far more impact on the situation than anything the enemy can devise.
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18 (NIV)
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