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  • East Martin CRC

Preserved Sick Hearts

James 3:13-18

Verse 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth.

Yesterday we discussed the difference between the wisdom of the world and the wisdom that God gives. Knowing that it is our actions that come from the wisdom we have accepted into our lives, we need to address this in our lives.

Actions and attitudes make up much of our lives and yet we don’t often give them much thought. We go about our days almost living unaware of the wake we are leaving behind us. We don’t tend to think through something thoroughly before saying it and once it is out of our mouths we don’t go back and reflect on it. This is a problem for believers. This is one way that our tongue shows what is lacking in our hearts.

James specifically mentions two things that we tend to keep in our hearts that cause us to walk outside of God’s wisdom. He follows that with a hint that we may not be totally honest with ourselves when evaluating where our heart truly lies. We need to take this into consideration. If we aren’t being honest with ourselves we are more likely to live contrary to the will of God. Remember our actions can’t reflect God if our hearts aren’t reflecting Him.

Before we take a look at the two things that James has listed for our awareness, we need to pay attention to what he says are being done with them. The word harbor used here is talking about persistently cherishing something in the heart. That isn’t really a positive thing to have said about us in regards to bitter envy or selfish ambition.

We need to look at the roles that bitter envy and selfish ambition play in our lives. On their own, bitter and envy are troublemakers in our lives, but combining them shows something that points to selfishness like few things do. Envy points to a resentment of something someone else has or is experiencing that we wish would be ours. To add bitterness to that shows that we are not seeing it as a gift from God to them but instead have a mindset that says He should have given it to us. It is targeting someone else because we are upset with God’s choices. This speaks loudly of our selfish ambition. These are the things in life that are keeping us from the life that could be ours if we were wholly given to God.

Making It Personal

Have you ever found bitter envy or selfish ambition in your heart? Did you find yourself harboring it? How can it be cleansed from your heart?

Making It Personal Kids

Have you ever been mad about something someone else had or got to do that you wanted? Did you keep thinking about it over and over? Why does Jesus not want us to do that?

Closing Prayer

Father, we have such sinful hearts. Please show us what we need to change and how to change it so that we can better reflect You and bring You glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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