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Bitter Envy and a Self-Seeking Heart

Bitter Envy and a Self-seeking Heart

But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. James 3:14-17 (NKJV)

In the Book of Matthew we read the story of the wise men coming from the east as they had followed a star leading them to where Jesus was. When they arrived they came and asked King Herod, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him" (Matt. 2:2).  When Herod heard this he was greatly troubled.  Herod attempted to deceive them so he could find the location of Jesus and have him killed.  But God warned the Magi not to return to Herod, and in his anger Herod decided to have newborn males 2 years and younger killed (Matt. 2:12-16).

Herod's evil deeds did not stop there as he chose to have his wife and three of his sons killed as well.  So obsessed with attention and in the honoring of himself he arranged to have 100 prominent officials killed the same day he himself was about to die. His reasoning was he knew those around him didn't like him and therefore they would not mourn him when he died.  So he said, "if they won't mourn my death, then they'll mourn the death of those who die on that same day."

Herod had bitter envy and self-seeking in his heart and it showed.  He lived his life influenced by the devil and his emissaries and it resulted in a radical and fanatical abuse of those around him.  Instead of choosing to seek the wisdom of God, which leads to peace and goodness, he chose the foolishness of Satan's ways and it led to confusion and disorder.  

For God is not the author of confusion but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)

Bitter envy and selfish self-seeking ambition are inspired by the devil.  It is easy for us to be drawn into wrong desires by the pressures of society and by looking at what others have.  We all need to guard ourselves against the enemy's schemes to tempt us to live a selfish and self-centered life.   We must guard ourselves from being deceived into thinking and even justifying our actions based on how others in society act. We are to look to Christ and how He would act, and what He would have us do.

I want to encourage you today to seek the Lord's will for your life.  Let's not get caught up into comparing our life or possessions with those of another.  Let's not look at what they may have and start to desire these things.  Let's seek the wisdom from our Lord and Savior so we can live for Him.  All we have to do is ask for it and He will give it to us liberally (James 1:5).   

STUDY QUESTION: According to James 3:14-17 where do bitter envy and selfish ambition come from?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Have you found yourself looking at what someone else may have and found yourself wanting it to the point of compromising your integrity to get it?

APPLICATION:  Read God's Word and ask Him for His wisdom this day for all the affairs of your life.  Trust Him to provide it to you liberally as you seek to know Him closer by reading the Bible, and praying to him continuously.

Father, thank You for Your wisdom, and Your guidance in my life.  Guide me to understand all I need to know this day Lord.    Show me areas in my life and in my heart where I may have bitter envy or a selfish ambition.  Give me wisdom and strength to lay these things down at Your feet.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000