James 4:1-6 (NLT) “1 What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you?
2 You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it.
3 And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.
4 You adulterers! Don’t you realize that friendship with the world makes you an enemy of God? I say it again: If you want to be a friend of the world, you make yourself an enemy of God.
5 What do you think the Scriptures mean when they say that the spirit God has placed within us is filled with envy?
6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but favors the humble.’ ”
There is nothing new under the sun. There is still a power struggle going in within the body of Christ.
The norms of American society teach us that it’s a ‘dog eat dog world out there’. That means we live in a world in which people fight for their own interests and will hurt other people to get what they want, using that phrase as an excuse to hurt other people. In short it tells us to look out for our own interests because other people are only looking out for theirs.
Unfortunately this kind of ideology has entered into the church. People find themselves locked in to competition and unable to think the best of others.
The church should be setting the trend not following it. When the body of Christ finds itself living by society’s standards it’s time to re-evaluate things. James reminds us that to be a friend of the world, to live by the world’s standards, to do as the world does…makes us an enemy of God. When Christians put title and position before God we are committing spiritual adultery. We are nothing more than idol worshipers who only throw around the name of Christ.
I have found that sometimes we get so caught up in what our role is in the Kingdom that we forget the King.
It seems that these days everybody wants to be somebody. Everybody wants to be seen as great or have their name in lights. If you are a Christian then you are already somebody…and not just anybody either. You are a child of the Most High God. You are royalty. You are beautiful.
Once you are saved you become a part of the body of Christ and your place in His kingdom is secured. There is no need to feel threatened or to envy someone else’s position. No matter how big or small your role may seem it is crucial and you are needed. It doesn’t matter if you’re called to serve tables and clean bathrooms or called to preach before thousands. Everything you do should be unto God. We serve not to be seen or rewarded by men but because our service is unto the Lord (Ephesians 6:7).
1 Corinthians 12:14-18 (NLT) “14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.”
God has called you to greatness and to success as you serve in the area He has called you to in His Kingdom but this success cannot be measured by the world’s standards of material rewards or widespread recognition.
Wishing ill of others so you can get ahead, envying the positions or possessions of others, scheming and sabotaging to get what you want is not of God. As James said God will neither hear you nor humor you when you do things like that.
Christians are the original brotherhood. We should be looking to advance our brothers and sisters instead of trying to hold them back or keep them down because of our own insecurity. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 10:24 “Let no man seek his own, but every man another’s wealth.” We all have at least one spiritual gift. Jesus didn’t simply endow us us with gifts to make us feel important. No, our gifts are to be used to serve others. Paul said these gifts are “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry,[and] for the edifying of the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).
Our question shouldn’t be” How do I become great?” but “How can I serve?” Jesus led by example. He went as far as washing His disciples’ feet to prove His point “The servant is not greater than His Lord” (John 13:16). If our Lord Jesus, the God-man, could serve his disciples and wash their feet, the feet He created while He was yet in heaven, then how much more should we be willing to serve our brothers and sisters? And in most cases you don’t even have to wash their feet (<- in case you don’t like feet lol)!
It takes a godly and confident person to put the needs and interests of others before their own. That is something society is not able to fully comprehend and yet the church should be a shining example of this kind of brotherhood. A person who demonstrates this ability to serve out of a pure and genuine desire to serve God says without even speaking that they are secure in their place in Christ and their role in the Kingdom of God and that they are confident that the God they serve will look out for their interests as they look out for the interests of others. Such a person understands Proverbs 18:16 “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” And what greater audience than God himself?
Fighting to be recognized or for certain things within the body of Christ stems from insecurity and happens more often than we’d care to admit. So how can we check ourselves to ensure that we are not caught up in a struggle for power? Here are a few
Self Check Questions:
Do I think the best of everybody?
Do I struggle with unforgiveness?
Am I easily offended?
Do I compare myself to other people?
Do I judge my success on the success of another?
Which do I find I’m more concerned about, serving or being served?
Do I place the needs and interests of others before my own?
Whether serving or simply talking to someone are my motives pure and genuine?
Do I rejoice when others are promoted? Is it easy for me to rejoice with them?
Do I compliment others regularly and are my compliments genuine?
Am I serving to be seen or serving for the King?
Do I know who am I am in Christ?
Do I understand my worth in God’s eyes?
Do I trust God enough to know that He has my best interests at heart?
Maybe after reading this you’ve found that you’re envious of someone or that it’s hard for you to rejoice when others are promoted or that its hard to serve knowing that your reward or recognition may not come the way you expected it – God wants you to know that He has a plan and a place in His Kingdom especially for you. Even if you don’t know it, or can’t see it, or can’t feel it, God says to you “I know the plans I have for you…plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV)
The Kingdom awaits – serve your way to the top! There’s no need to hate on others out of insecurity because of who they are or what they have. You don’t have to fight for your place. Your destiny is already secured in Christ. No one can take that away from you. You’re not in competition with anyone because there will never be another you. No one else can play your role in the Kingdom of God. There’s no need to struggle or quarrel or fight or take offense because what’s yours is yours and
Jesus says “You can find your identity and your destiny in me.”
Chew on this!
Peace & Blessings &
God’s Marvelous Light!