|“For where you have envy and selfish |
ambition, there you find disorder
and every evil practice.”
The Bible is chock full of contrasts. Basically, the Scriptures describe the war that rages between God, who represents eternal righteousness, goodness, and love, and Satan, who represents everything that is the opposite of God—evil, deceit, hatred, enmity, anger, and so much more.
That Satan began as one of God’s most favored angels is far more than ironic. As C. S. Lewis describes in his magnificent little book, Mere Christianity, Satan wanted to be God without God.
Satan had organized a significant number of other angels to follow his lead. Because of Satan’s defiance of God’s authority, God essentially banished Satan to earth, along with the angels who had followed him. Thus, when God created humans, Adam and Eve, Satan—and his legions of demons—was already present to reap as much destruction as possible.
The whole condemning element for Satan, and for us, as well, is that summary written by Lewis: Satan wanted to be God without God. And, in our state of sinful rebellion, we, too, want to be God in our lives without God. Thus, our very existence is fraught with conflict: the righteousness of an eternal, holy, and loving God vs. the sinful, selfish, temporal, hate-filled life we lead when God is not present within us.
The Apostle James summarized this state of being quite succinctly when he wrote these words found in James 3:16:
For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Without the Presence of God in our lives, we are envious and selfish. This envy and selfishness leads to a warped ambition that, in turn, leads to disorder and every evil practice. One of the blessed aspects of the Incarnation is that the Lord Jesus Christ brought divine order to the chaos of our sin-filled lives. Through this magnificent gift of God’s mercy, grace, and love, we have the possibility of banishing chaos forever and fully embracing peaceful order in our daily lives.
As we think about what God has so graciously done for us this day, let’s praise Him that He is One who created and sustains a straightened pathway for our lives. He brings order. He brings peace. He brings our redemption from the penalty of sin. He does all these things for one reason: He loves us with His eternal, unfailing, undying love.