August 1, 2007 7:00 am
This week, let’s look at James 3:16.
16For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil.— James 3:16 (HCSB)
In the passage leading up to this verse, James had been telling us about controlling the tongue, and then he explained that the wisdom we need comes from above. The two problems in this verse are the source of many of our self-inflicted problems.
Envy is jealousy - wanting what someone else has, disliking someone else for the good things that they have in their life. Paul gives a pretty good comparison with envy and jealousy (emphasis mine)…
19Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, 20idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, 21envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar, about which I tell you in advance - as I told you before - that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love…— Galatians 5:19-22a (HCSB)
But, just as Paul followed up his list of negative things with one of the most famous passages in the Bible, James also does not stop with verse 16. He continues…
17But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without favoritism and hypocrisy. 18And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.— James 3:17-18 (HCSB)
So, the remedy to “disorder and…evil” is the fruit of the Spirit. By setting aside our own selfish desires, we can allow the Holy Spirit to grow these other qualities in us. May we be able to say “no” to ourselves and “yes” to Him!