James 3:16 – “…where envying and strife is…”

For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

James 3:16 KJV

Today I want to look at this very short verse with an extremely large impact in everyone’s life.  As we’ll see in this post, it can be very easy to fall into confusion and open the door in your life to every other evil work simply by trying to do the right thing. 

Envying Defined

This word for envy is the Greek word zelos (Strong’s 2205) which means “to have warmth of feeling for or against, to be zealous or jealous”.  Now this is really important because it brings out our first point. 

Confusion comes any time we try to MAKE something happen instead of resting in God’s timing and direction for that moment. 

Confusion from Zealous Actions

It’s possible to become out of God’s will by trying to fervently anticipate what you think He wants you to do next.  Maybe God tells you to start a podcast and pretty soon you’re thinking, “Well if a podcast is good… maybe I should start a CHURCH next!”  

Now where does the confusion come in? 

When you begin to try to make something happen, you’ll open the door to confusion. 

Watch this.  

All your prayers start to turn from, “God I’m your willing vessel to be directed today to do whatever you’d like me to do.” to “God give me direction on the next steps to start this church…” 

The problem is God never told you to start a church.  YOU told YOU to start a church and now you’re praying to try and get God onboard with your ideas of success.

In effect, you’ve attempted to take the place of God in your life and direct your life for yourself.  The problem is that God doesn’t like to share his position with anyone.

In fact, God’s got a whole different plan for you, but you’re too busy trying to do something good that you’re missing the something right for you. 

Pretty soon as you start to go down this path you’ll become more and more confused because you’ll say, “But God look at all the fruit! Look at the good things we’re doing!”, but something won’t be quite right…

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

Psalm 127:1 KJV

It might be good but that doesn’t make it RIGHT in the scheme of God’s whole plan for your life. 

Confusion from Jealous Actions

Now I don’t know about you, but the first thought I had when I heard the word “jealousy” was the jealous boyfriend picture of the overly protective, hypercritical man who’s hovering. 

But jealousy is simply a strong desire for something (or someone). 

Usually we think of jealousy as a really bad emotion that’s kind of shameful. Like in the case of the boyfriend example. 

But think about this. How do you feel about… 

  • That new car that someone else has that you REALLY want?
  • That ideal job position you’re working hard to achieve?
  • That perfect home with the pool and private study? 

All of these things can be places we fall into jealousy over. 

We don’t necessarily want their house, but we want their same lifestyle or things. 

Pretty soon we’re building lifestyles around acquiring their same life circumstances. God starts to try to direct you, but you have a hundred other voices you’ve allowed yourself to listen to telling you all the ways to gain the life you want. 

God’s trying to direct you the way that’s best for you, but you end up listening to men’s opinion instead. 

Wrapping Things Up

It’s important to remember that we’re not responsible to accomplish the things God has called us to do.  Remember HE gives you the desires of your heart.  God both places them in your heart and also is responsible for making them come to pass. 

It’s our responsibility to remain in faith and rest in the Word of God.  Pay attention to the things that God tells you to do, but be careful that you don’t allow your desire to accomplish the will of God or your desire to have what everyone else has cloud your mind and bring confusion into your life.

James 3:16