What is it you want from life? Do you want to have the biggest and the best of everything? From a worldly perspective, being on top seems like the best place to be. Crushing the competition and amassing a great personal fortune is an admirable goal. No one’s going to bring success to you – you have to go out and take it. Those who get trampled along the way will learn important lessons and grow stronger. Those who have what it takes will reap the rewards of success. But is this kind of success truly success?
“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)
You don’t have to go too far to find someone cheating to get to the top. When it comes to earning enormous sums of money, I’m not sure it’s even possible without some amount of deception and dishonesty. The promise of riches and glory often comes with a hefty price tag of compromised morals and ethics. Certainly the temptation to cut corners to get ahead is difficult to avoid when your central focus in life is to be the biggest and the best.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” James 3:16 (NIV)
Is it possible to become wealthy in an honest way? Are there wealthy people who earned their money playing by the rules? I pray there are many who are now using their financial success to help others. In the book of James we learn that the wisdom that prepares you to crush your opponent is not wisdom from God. Indeed, wisdom from God is completely different than the wisdom of this world.
“The 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)
From God’s perspective, building an enormous fortune and making it to the top is not a mark of wisdom. That is a trap the devil uses to keep you moving away from God. Of course, if you’re building a fortune with the express purpose of helping others, you have found the wisdom of God. The money we have in the bank will not travel with us into eternity, (1 Timothy 6:7). The good that we do for others is something that will remain with us as a treasure in heaven, (Matthew 6:19-20). We need to stop trying to push people out of the way to get ahead and start bringing people together in love and support of each other. That is true success.
“Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:18 (NIV)
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