The Products of Envy and Selfishness

Written by Leland Ping on Mar 07, 2015


The Bible warns us about the danger of “envy” and “self-seeking” by telling us that they produce “confusion and every evil thing” (James 3:16). Nothing good comes from envy and nothing positive comes from selfishness. If only it were simple and easy to fully rid ourselves of these ungodly qualities. Confusion is likened to commotion or instability and when envy occurs, that’s exactly what happens. With envy often comes distrust. And in any relationship wherein trust is lacking, stability is the next thing to go. Satan would love for church members to be envious of one another. He works hard to encourage envy on the part of Christians who are trying to influence the world for good. And when he is able to promote such instability, he realizes his goal to keep us from our work.

Much like envy, nothing good ever comes from selfishness. A focus on what “I” want means that I’m not fo- cused on what others need. Jesus Christ, for example, is the epitome of selflessness and His life is an incredi- ble testimony to that fact. It has been said that every sin we commit can be easily traced back to selfishness. James seems to argue the same thing when he points out that “every evil thing” is rooted in an attitude that is self-seeking. If envy and selflessness only produce ill, it makes perfect sense that a strong consideration of others will produce many great things. With a focus on God’s will and service to His people, there’ll be no confusion nor will there be evil to occur. We’re fortunate to have these important warnings from inspired men like James and we appreciate the wisdom he shares.

Let us seriously consider his words and work diligently to put away envy and be more selfless each day that we live. The only way to do that is to turn ourselves toward God (completely) and rely on the teachings of His word to guide us. Along with that, we need to be people of prayer who petition our Lord for His assistance in ridding ourselves of the attitudes that we said we’d put away when we were adopted into His family. And finally, our efforts to avoid envy and selfishness will only be enhanced by way of our dependence on one another. As members of local congregations, we are blessed with brothers and sisters who not only care about us but who, with their own experiences, can give us the help and encouragement we need to be ever pleasing to our Father by more ably defeating the evil of envy and selfishness.

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