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James 3:16: For Where Jealousy And Selfish Ambition Exist, There Will Be Disorder And Every Vile Practice.


James 3:16
[16] For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (ESV)

I love fish aquariums. From time to time I have had various kinds of tropical fish of many different varieties. I love angel fish. I love cichlids. Both of these varieties of fish have inherent beauty. They grow to a fairly large size also. As much as I love them both I have discovered something. They cannot both be in the same tank.

Cichlids will eat angel fish. At the very least they will harass them until they die. So, I now know from experience that I either have a tank with cichlids only, or I have a tank with other fish, like angel fish, and no cichlids. Cichlids do not play nice with other fish. The only fish I can put with cichlids is other cichlids.



So, what does a fish tank have to do with today's verse? Imagine the body of Christ like a huge aquarium. The outside world is watching. They are hoping to see us behaving in cooperative ways like the New Testament instructs us to. But there are deadly fish in the body of Christ. They are people who are full of jealousy and selfish ambition. James describes what happens if we allow them in the tank.

Jealous and selfish people work their way into churches. They get onto committees. They become deacons. They even become pastors. After a while all of the good in the church is overcome by these aggressive fish. James says that where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.

If you are in the body of Christ, people are watching you just like a person observes fish in a tank. Put away jealousy and selfish ambition or you will be like a cichlid, destroying the good that God wants to accomplish.

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