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For where there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:16)
James, here, presents the results of jealousy and selfish ambition. This is to say that the internal issues of the heart manifest themselves through disorder and evil practices. Anytime someone acts jealous or seeks his own selfish, ambitious interests, it will always result in evil every time. Cain was bitterly jealous of his brother Abel, and that led him to murder his own brother. (Gen. 4) King Saul was so full of jealousy because the people praised David that he made it a life goal to kill David.
King Herod was so bent on his selfish ambition to keep the throne that his heart was filled with jealousy when he heard a new king was born in Bethlehem. As a result, he sends out his soldiers to kill all the boys two years old and younger. The Pharisees hated Jesus and wanted to put him to death on the cross. Christians would do good to heed the word of Paul in Philippians 2:3-4, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others.”
Jealousy and selfish ambition are two traits that lead to destructive behaviors. In their wake, we have volatility, self-doubt, disorder, conquest, removing any hope of happiness, confidence, harmony, and peace. Some evil practices might include offensiveness, disrespect, vulgarity, groundless suspicions, hurtful gossip, slander, verbal abuse, backbiting, hostilities, spite and malice, stubbornness, disloyalty, two-facedness, discord, fights, favoritism, even violence toward friends and family. In fact, the Scriptures are filled with examples of improper jealousy and bad results. The first human death came about because Cain gave way to his improper jealousy. The Philistines envied the growing prosperity of Isaac, so they persecuted him. Rachel was jealous of her sister Leah’s fertility in childbearing. Jacob’s sons were jealous of their younger brother Joseph because of the favor shown toward him. (Genesis 4:4-8; 26:14; 30:1; 37:11) In contrast, ‘love binds everything together in perfect harmony.’ – Colossians 3:14.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
4 Love is long suffering and kind; Love is not jealous, it does not brag; it is not puffed up, 5 does not behave indecently; is not seeking its own interests, is not provoked, does not keep a record of wrong, 6 does not rejoice over unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Everything is unpredictable, frustrating, and filled with anxiety when jealousy and selfish ambition exist. There is no shared trust, faith, belief, or loyalty. There is no agreed-upon plan and endeavor. There is no teamwork in encouraging a shared objective. There is no strength and steadiness in any ideas, purpose, for good, as we simply defeat one another because of jealousy and selfish ambition.
There is little doubt to James’ words if anyone has been in a family or church who has observed the effects of jealousy and selfish ambition. It causes a feeling of strife that predominates all love and harmony, which are discarded. All happiness fades away. All success comes to an end.
In place of the peaceful Christian qualities and characteristics that should exist, this evil obsession ruins the peace of any group, be it, family, church, a workplace, or any other. Where this spirit lives in a church, it is, of course, not possible to have any spiritual growth in divine things. Therefore, in such a church, every attempt to do good is futile.