Pam and I led a marriage mentoring ministry in our former church and were always on the lookout for married couples who would be solid mentors. Once we had the opportunity to interview many of these couples, we often discovered that their marriage and family life were a pretense. Rather than mentoring other marriages, they desperately needed help with theirs. They were a mess. Full disclosure, Pam and I were in the same position ourselves for a number of years. Do you feel that you’ve fought hard for your family, but your life remains a mess?
At the end of chapter 3 and the beginning of 4, James in his candid style bottom lines what frequently is going on in our lives. 3:14-16 states, “14 If you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Each of us in our marriages have our own selfish ideas and ambitions for what our lives should look like. Individually, if we put our dreams into play, guess what happens? We end up being “married singles” living with someone who has his/her own selfish ambitions which rub against yours causing huge issues in your household and to you personally. Things can get ugly between the spouses and nasty with the kids. Verse 16 is clear, bitter “envy and selfish ambition” lead to “disorder and every evil practice.”
Could James 4:1-4 be an honest picture of your household? “1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” “Harboring bitter envy and selfish ambition” produces chaos in your marriage and an emotionally and unhealthy environment for your kids.
Hebrews 12:15 declares, “See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” Within your family and others, bitterness defiles, emotionally scars, and impacts the behavior of many others. The bible does not say it “could” impact others, but it “will” impact others.
Look at the last half of James 3:14, “do not boast about it or deny the truth.” Boasting about your ambitions when others around you are being crushed by your ego is flat out selfish. This verse says for you to face the truth. Take a good hard look at yourself and cry to God for truth. Find Godly counsel with a Christian counselor, minister, or a mature Christian who has walked through a similar journey as yours. Start sorting this out, Bro…Today!