13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth
What an interesting pair of verses. They provide quite a contrast between one Who is wise and understanding vice one who harbors bitter envy and selfish ambition in his heart. The following verses make the contrast even more stark
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.
17 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.
I remember attending a Joint Electronic Warfare Conference where a USMC Colonel was reading a book with a title about Servanthood Leadership. I don’t recall the specific title (a few similar titles are here and here), but I remember being struck on how intently he was reading this book. We talked for awhile and he expressed how important it was for him to look at how he could properly, effectively, and honestly he could serve those who served under him. For him, Jesus was the example to follow. And what an example Jesus set
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage;
7 rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!
But we know Jesus as God in the flesh and we rarely truly think of Him as God. However what He is really like gets revealed in the three synoptic gospels with this being the most explicit.
There He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light.
It did not last long, but there we are given a glimpse of Jesus as He really is before He chose to become a man to serve us as a sacrifice for our sins. With knowledge that He really is God, what He really looks like, and what He did for us, then it is a small thing to say if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. (emphasis added) Note it is the condition of one’s heart that is beings addressed here and the first requirement to changing the condition is not to boast about it or deny the truth. You must admit to yourself and to God what is in your heart and ask Him to change it much as David did.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
David knew the condition of his heart and knew it had to change, so he turned to God and began Psalm 51
1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
It’s Monday and I hope you have a great week. I expect I will. I am in Florida, with my bride attending the Southeast Calvary Chapel Pastor’s Conference on The Riches of the Servant’s Walk.