James 3:14 says:

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

If the fruit of your life is jealousy and selfish ambition – or as some translations put it – envy and selfish ambition – if that is your fruit – then don’t boast.

On first glance, I wondered why James even has to write this.

Do you need to point out to Christians that if you hold to a wisdom that leads to envy and selfish ambition – you shouldn’t boast about it?

And then it hit me – Christians boast about this all the time. I boast about this all the time.

We have been so influenced by the world, we are so consumed with pursuing the things the world says is wisdom – that we do it – think it is right – and boast.

Jealousy – envy.

We give it a more refined name – seeking to better yourself.

I’ve been there. Thinking I need more.

Looked at houses and units on the internet.

Looked at holidays on TV shows.

Looked at nice cars on the street.

And told myself things like – these will satisfy – you work hard – you deserve it – you should have it.

I’ve even talked about wanting these things with a degree of self-serving pride.

Selfish ambition.

We rename it – sanctified ambition.

I’m doing it for God and family and church. Yeah right.

Been there.

I want our church to grow – but is it for the right reasons – or for selfish, ambitious reasons?

I want to earn more – I tell myself – it is to give more – but is it?

I think of some of the ways I have talked about these things – it is close to boasting.

And if you think very few Christians boast about these things – then open your ears – listen to a few conversations – or if you still aren’t convinced – go to Facebook.

A four-bedroom house, three kids, a dog, a gym body and government job – that will satisfy.

We are so influenced by the world we don’t even realise the things we boast about are worldly.