Welcome to DAY 15 of our online Bible study on James!

Click HERE to download our 25-Day Reading Plan on James!

 


DAY 15

— Read: James 3:13-16

I belong to the first generation of my family to attend college. Growing up in a quaint town — where traffic jams still consist mostly of farm equipment, school buses, and horse and buggies — it seems surprising to me now that college was a natural assumption for my future. To be honest, the odds seemed stacked against me: my parents divorced when I was very young, our town didn’t offer many opportunities for young creatives, I would be sharing any college savings with a twin sister. And yet this?

This pride my family had in my ability to do well in school and go on to “be” someone? It wasn’t wishful thinking. It would happen.

And it did happen. As I packed my bags for Villanova, I also took with me the expectations of my family and their affirmations that I could do anything I put my mind to because I was intelligent and there was nothing that would stop me. That was the gospel I heard growing up and the expectations I intended to meet. In the 14 years that followed, I puffed myself up with awards and achievements, credentials and diplomas, and fancy job titles. Along with it, packed up with my business cards and my cute shoes, came two unsettling friends: selfish ambition and envy.

As a relatively new Christian (I accepted Christ as my Savior when I was 16), my intellect-without-wisdom never warned me that the enemy would use my pride, accomplishments, and the expectations of the world to keep my focus away from Jesus.

Where God intended for me to use my gifts for His glory, I began striving for more ways to build up my own kingdom.

Until God, in His mercy and wisdom, took it all away. More than once.

Scripture reminds us that we can have all the intelligence in the world, but without wisdom, we will watch our pride take us down again and again. When, instead of putting the spotlight on Jesus, we:

  • focus on growing our own followings on social media.
  • climbing over people on the corporate ladder.
  • saying “yes” to every opportunity to get one more step ahead.
  • shut ourselves off from real community because friendship feels like the world’s hardest group project.
  • we stumble over our ambitious desires and fail to be useful for the Lord.

When we wait for that title, that big fancy stage, or that special invitation before we start telling people about Jesus, we miss out on the blessing of serving those God has placed in our everyday, ordinary lives.

As we do the work God has set before us, let’s ask God to remove any seeds of bitterness, anger, jealousy, envy, or selfish ambition so that we can, with pure hearts and motives, bring glory and followers to God — not ourselves.

And may “Child of God” be the only title we ever need.


 

— Diving Deeper —

When have you struggled with bitter envy or selfish ambition?
{We’ve all be there!}

Do you know someone who possesses a humble, gentle heart?
How could you begin to emulate this person?

 

Share in the comments…

 

Crystal Stine

Crystal Stine encourages women to pursue holy hustle -- a work hard, rest well lifestyle that chases faith instead of fame. Mama to a 5-year-old (and married to her high school sweetheart), Crystal is the author of “Creative Basics: 30 Days to Awesome Social Media Art,” creator of the popular “Clarity Coaching” Course, editor of "Craving Connection" and host of the annual Write 31 Days challenge. Crystal writes regularly at crystalstine.me and can be found on Instagram @crystalstine.

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