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Recovering Envyholic Avoiding Selfish Ambitions/ Part One

It all started with a verse in Sunday school a while back. A verse naming envy as a sin. My thought patterns aren't like other peoples. This frustrates me quite a bit and as a way to counteract this problem I try to tell myself that I am just unique and special. When in actuality, I feel bad that I can't think like others, feel like others, process like others, you name it, the list goes on and on. And guess what all that berating falls under? You got it. Envy and selfish ambition.

So, I believe it was God last Sunday, while sitting in church, that plunked me down in the book of James with these thoughts about envy and selfish ambitions. I have to admit, I didn't listen to a lot of the sermon. My brother, Dayton was the speaker, and I figured that if God wanted to grab my attention while sitting in church with scripture verses that were going straight to my heart, that my brother would be OK with that. Bits and snatches of what he had to say was along some of these lines anyway.

What is envy in practical terms? I am happy to tell you, it depends on your age, beliefs, and personality.

Maybe not, I just said that so you don't feel condemned straight off, but I do think it can be different for each person because we are all given different abilities or gifts. I can only name the things that are envy in my own life and hope that some of them you can identify with as a way to see your own set of envies.

Some things I feel envious about naturally: -people who are thin
                                                             -mice free homes
                                         - people that can talk and make sense
                                         -writers that make it look easy
                                         -people who know their calling in life and those who don't seem to struggle with insecurities about their calling
                                      - people that know more than I, without all the grit and grueling work I have to go through to get there
                                       - people that have tact and kindness written on their hearts
                                      -blogger/writers who are more talented than I

If I read back over that list, I can think of the circumstance that came along with the thought. I call those things symptoms of envy. I'll go back over the list with the symptoms or reactions. This could be painful, but I think helpful in being able to identify what envy looks like in real life.

 -I just noticed someone has lost a little weight and instead of being happy for them, I have a tremendous urge to serve them cheesecake and chocolate truffles.
-I've previously lived in new homes and saw nary a mouse. I feel like whining for a new house.
-I might have had a discussion with someone that put into words what I've been trying to say. I am frustrated that I have to write it down first for it to be clearly articulated instead of being thankful that person gave me the words.
-instead of being thankful for writers with talent to guide, I feel envious that I can't quite get it.
-I tend to think judgmental thoughts of those that know and say what they believe strongly. Instead of accepting that God gave others gifts of knowing and performing without all the wavering and doubts I deal with sometimes.
-I feel insignificant when I hear of greatness in other people, like a family called to adopt, or others that go to other countries and serve as missionaries, instead of rejoicing in their service to our Lord. I wonder when I will be worthy enough to serve greatly instead of realizing I serve greatly when I serve humbly. Today.
-I feel stupid and ignorant when someone younger with less experience 'gets' something I've had difficulty learning.
-I've witnessed an act of kindness, whereas I, having been given the same situation, may have been cold and indifferent or even rude. I may feel uncomfortable and convicted when I see someone ruled properly by tact and kindness.
-feelings of criticism about a person because they had the guts and words to say publicly something you vowed you would never air to the world. 


These thoughts came after reading James 1: While they don't directly speak of envy or selfish ambitions, it sets the precedent for rest of the book when looked at, with those two things in mind.

 -James called himself a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.
-Be happy about trials. They are needed to complete God's work in you.
-You will need wisdom. Ask in faith. You will be unstable if you doubt, fear, or waver.
-strive to exalt God and to be humble about yourself. If there is any good in me, It's for exalting God to others.
-Every good thing that we do fades quickly.
-We are blessed when tried, it grows eternal things in our hearts.
-Understand failings and weaknesses happen because we are human and we move away from exalting God. We get too wound up in our problems or self glory and forget to ask for wisdom.
-The perfect and good thing is God, Father of light/truth. There is an absence of shifting shadows in HIS light.
-Listen good. Talk less. Say it free of anger. Anger works against righteous living.
-Get rid of filth. Spring clean your heart.
-What cleaning agent to use? The Word of God. Read it. Memorize it. Experience it working.
Make memorials of what God has already done.
-Use the word of God to see what your heart looks like, as if its a mirror. Remember what you saw. Fix what needs fixing. Continue in this pattern.
-Test of spirituality? Is your tongue bridled? if you talk too much, you will find it easier to say, than do.
-Another way to test this? You are a doer if you take care of the needs around you. That, and by staying current with God and in His Word.

Part two...coming later this week...