The norm in the American Christian culture is the desire to seek God’s purpose for our lives and to accomplish all that the Lord has planned for us to do on this earth. To a degree, that is a noble desire, but if we make it the focus of our walk with the Lord, it can derail us from the Lord’s greater purpose. …
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. James 3:14-16
The above scripture gives us a few truths about the dangers of envy. James tells us that some will boast about envy and self-seeking. Why would one boast about envying!? I don’t think people directly boast about their envy, but they boast about the accomplishments that was rooted in envy! For example, striving can be rooted in envy, so, on the surface, the person can look impressive by what they achieve. Hence, they could be boasting about their accomplishments instead of boasting about envying others. Envy causes a person to be self-seeking and not to stand being the second fiddle. As a result, envy can compel a person to do all that he/she can to ensure they attain or maintain what is valuable to them!
In addition, the above scripture tells us that some will lie about their motives and will try to hide or deny their envy. On the surface they may look like a dedicated person, but their motives are to push others aside and ensure that they are the ones who hold are at the center of stage. We all need to be discerning of our own motives as well as those around us. A lot of things can look impressive, and every organization looks for dedicated members who are faithful and committed. However, this does not mean that every person has pure motives in doing what they do. We all need to check in with the Lord from time to time and ensure that our heart is pure and we have no ulterior motives.
James goes on to explain that these actions and attitudes are not spiritual but carnal and demonic! This is very sobering.! When a person allows envy to be the motivating factor in what they do, they are opening the door to the demonic in their lives. They are no longer are led by the spirit of God. They may think that they are walking in freedom with Jesus, but envy has held them captive! Now, their focus and desire has shifted from serving God to serving themselves and winning.
Joseph’s brothers are a good example of the damage that envy can produce (Read starting in Genesis 37). Their envy caused them to open the door to the spirit of hatred and murder. Their jealousy led them to get rid of their brother. Furthermore, they lied to their father and acted like they knew nothing about what happened to Joseph. This caused much pain and separation for their father and Joseph. Their intent was to ensure that Joseph did not remain the favorite and his dreams would not come true. Their envy brought about self-seeking and demonic schemes and caused them to even lie about it by pretending to their father that they cared about Joseph!
Are you someone who helps and encourages people to grow and take their place in their God-given sphere? Or do you feel insecure about those who are preferred and try to minimize them? Are you happy for those who are honored? Or do you allow envy to cause you to resent others and their privileged status in life? You may argue that some don’t deserve their position. This is the subject of the next devotional.