For where envy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every kind of evil. James 3:16
Remember playing King of the Hill? For many of us, that game set the stage for the rest of our lives. Have you ever thought about what was at the top of that hill? Nothing. It was usually just a pile of dirt, but we fought over it because we all wanted to be Number One. Even as kids, we were learning to play by Satan’s rules. We learned to push others down so we could be first, to grab the best for ourselves, and that only the “king of the hill” matters. That is the definition of selfish ambition. It sounds like a positive goal, but this verse warns us that when we indulge in it, we are welcoming an entire fleet of other sins.
Think for a moment about how many of your lifestyle choices or purchases were motivated by envy. Your (neighbor, brother, boss, friend) got one, so you had to have it too. You didn’t know you needed it until you saw theirs. Our culture is constantly reminding us that unless we have the newest gadget, the biggest TV, or the best body, we are inferior. It points to our physical differences and clears its throat: “You really need this product so you won’t be so (fat, ugly, weak, low-class).”
Would there be a market for triple-digit designer handbags if there was no envy? Would tanning salons, elective cosmetic surgery, or massive debt be as prevalent if envy was not the motivator? The Bible warns us that with envy comes jealousy, over-spending, greed, pride, and a host of other sins that weighs us down and keep us from enjoying all God has give us.
Take a personal inventory of your life choices. Does envy or selfish ambition play a part in those choices?