For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. James 3:16
Have you heard of a “gateway drug”? The idea is that some drugs lead to other, more harmful and deadly drugs. Before the person knows it, the drug they started with opens them up to a whole new world of drugs they never thought they would do.
James is warning us that envy and selfish ambition are gateway behaviors to much worse things. We might think being envious is no big deal, that it only affects our lives and that we can control it. But eventually, our envy will reach out and begin to affect the lives of those around us. When we become consumed with our own desires, we elevate our wants above the needs of others. And ultimately, you’ll no longer care if you hurt others, as long as you get what you want.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a little envy or selfish ambition is good motivation for advancing your career or financial status. Those thoughts will always lead to disorder and open the gateway to even more destructive behaviors. Instead of being consumed by your own desires, replace those thoughts with prayer, and ask God to show you how to help meet the needs of others rather than doing whatever it takes to meet your own.
Dear Lord, Help my motivation to serve you be strong enough to overcome any selfish desires or envy that may be hidden in my heart. Please flush those destructive behaviors out of my life and help me be more focused on meeting the needs of others. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
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