What's at the root of this chaos?

If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. (James 3:13-16)

An honorable life is not always that easy to live, especially when we are surrounded by so many choices that feed our pride. Pride has a 'second-cousin' of sorts...jealousy. These types of struggles are real and we do a great deal to cover them up because we don't like it when others see our second-cousin struggles. We forget it is easier to ask God to deal with them than it is to find a suitable mask to cover them up!

Why do we go to so much trouble to cover up jealousy and selfishness? It is probably because we feel the 'ugliness' of those sins deep within our soul. These are not superficial sins, but rather deep-seated sins that have very deep roots. We even try to cover them up with other sins, such as boasting and lying. The presence of jealousy and selfish ambition brings about more schisms in families, workplaces, and communities than we may imagine. They disturb the ability to relate to one another in love.

We find a jealous person tries hard to get what he should not ever possess, for soon what he strives to possess will become the object of his affection and that doesn't leave room for God to be his pursuit. James go so far as to say the pursuit of things out of jealousy or pride is actually like the work of our worst enemy...Satan. Jealousy leads to lust for what we don't really need, eliminating the drive to move toward what we do actually need. No wonder these two sins lead to so much disorder and evil!

We may not see our sin, but others will. Jealousy and selfish ambition are never fully disguised and they wound others in our path, not just ourselves. If there is any hope of overcoming these obnoxious sins, it is in entering into Christ's forgiveness and grace. We enter into truth and truth begins the work of unmasking our sin. As the mask comes off, love begins to do the deeper work of uprooting the nastiness of being so self-focused that we act out of pride. God doesn't just ask for the mask to be removed...he works within us until there is no need for it any longer. Just saying!

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