We humans are inclined to be jealous creatures. Some of us are naturally ambitious and that ambition, drive, and will power can easily lead us down a path where we are overcome with jealous, envy and desire for success by worldly standards. It is the selfishness of the ambition that makes it so deadly. For an ambition to make God’s name exalted, Jesus known to all and have others lives made better by the power of the gospel is a good thing. It is the heart of selfishness behind the ambition that makes it so horrible and ugly. It is when we are made low and humbled that Jesus is most exalted and lives are most transformed. Otherwise people start to idolize the person doing the good works rather than Jesus. It is only through Jesus and the Holy Spirit that we Christians are even capable of doing good works in the first place.
“For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.” James 3:16-18
When I think of the times in my life I have failed to walk according to Jesus’s path for me it is often when I get caught up with trying to meet the standards others have set for me, standards I have set for myself or the standard of others around me. By trying to meet these worldly standards I then allow for jealousy and worldly ambition to creep into my heart. My eyes get turned away from Jesus and toward the worldly ambition. This has never worked out well in the end. Jesus is very good at turning my eyes back to him. I am thankful that he does turn my eyes back to him and the cross. For I have only ever experienced discontent, dissatisfaction and trouble from pursuing worldly ambition. On the other hand living a humble life in service to the Lord never cease to bring joy, peace and content.
When you evaluate your heart, is it filled with humility and desire to exalt the lord on high or is it filled with worldly ambition and jealousy? If it is filled with worldly ambition and jealousy I pray God would give you the heart to repent and allow him to cleanse you of all unrighteousness. That he would change your heart and mind so that that worldly ambition is turned to humility and desire for more Jesus in this world. Amen