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. 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. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
- We Must Solve our Envy and Selfishness
- The description of the problem
The good life is threatened by these things:
v.14 envy or jealousy and selfish ambition
Ecclesiastes 4: 4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
This “wisdom” does not reflect the way that God is.
This “wisdom” reflects the thinking and motivation of Satan. He strives to steal, kill and destroy because of bitter jealousy rooted in ambition for self.
This same level of jealousy and selfish ambition is reflected in the story of Cain and Abel. God accepts Abel’s sacrifice. Cain cannot stand that his brother is ahead. So, he levels the playing field by killing him. And the description of his struggle is profound:
Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.4 And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
Sin is crouching at your door and it desires to have you!
Please see this as an aspect of all of your relationships. See it with reference to your marriage relationship. You have the opportunity to breed resentment, jealousy, selfishness. Don’t do it. You must rule over it.
- The Curse of Genesis 3
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
This desire of husband is desire for place, autonomy, authority.
This husband ruling over is domination by force, by physical superiority.
Neither of these are appropriate. What is appropriate in a marriage relationship? Mutual helping.
- Mutual Submission is a Godly Alternative
- Godly wisdom is reflected by God
Does God submit to others? I believe He does. He is patient, this includes submission. He is considerate. He is giving. He is loving. He allows others to go their own way.
- God is peace loving, considerate and submissive
Do you want your spouse to treat you in this way? If you feel strongly about an issue…
- Force your personal actions to conform to God
Does this reflect a value for peace?
Does this demonstrate consideration for the needs, desires, time and energy etc. of my spouse?
Am I willing to give up my right to have my way?
Do I believe God will fill me with His Holy Spirit as I trust in Him?
- Someone must go first
God did right? Look at Philippians 2:3-7
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
You may as well make it a contest to see how cooperative you can be with your spouse!
- Both must submit or it won’t work
The definition of a working marriage is one that is mutually beneficial. We are to be suitable helpers for each other. If you are doing all of the submitting, the marriage will be a burden. If your spouse does all of the submitting, then the marriage is a burden to them. You might as well see submission as a virtue and then make it a contest to see who can be the most virtuous.
- Do all of life together
Don’t deviate from the path of making decisions together. In my marriage, there are not many situations that we have faced where we are not both getting our way. There have been very few situations where one of us has faced a painful submission. I believe you will have to work to not have my life and your life in your marriage. The truth is that the two become one family. You are your own unit of human definition. This is God’s will for you.
Selfishness, personal ambition, jealousy will challenge your peaceful cooperative relationship. The cure will be for you to submit to Christ and through that submit to each other.