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Read Introduction to James


“But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.”


and self-seeking

“Self-seeking” means strife or contentiousness.  A “self-seeking” person is always in the business of electioneers and intrigues for office. He puts himself forward, and doing so, he is partisan and fractious. He uses any means to gain his ends. The ends justify the means. Above all, he is self-seeking. He does everything for personal gain and ambition. 

The secular Greek used “self-seeking” for a person who pursues political office by unfair means. It is a selfish ambition and rivalry. This person is jealousy of people around him, so he resents them. He wants to be better than everyone else is. 

in your hearts,

The “heart” is the basis for our motivation. This is where we believe or disbelieve and from where our speech originates. The issue is not external but internal. 

Pr. 4:23, “Keep your heart with all diligence,

            For out of it spring the issues of life.”

Matt. 15:19, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.”

Luke 24:25, “Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!’”

Acts 8:37, “Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’”

Rom. 10:8-10, “But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”


Self-centered people have problems with approbation lust.


Human wisdom always produces self-contentedness. Self-centered people cannot tolerate anything but their own ideas and desires. They deem themselves the measure of everything. 

The more insensitive we are to ourselves, the more likely we are to others against others. We become hypersensitive about ourselves and insensitive to others. A callousness of the soul settles into our hearts. When this happens, our Christian lives go into reversion. Once the ball starts rolling down this steep hill, it is hard to stop it.  

He wants everyone to think he is better than everyone else is, so he tries to influence everyone around him to think that he is great. His motivation is vainglorious. This creates confusion among those who connect to him. The triumph of his personal party is more crucial than the triumph of the gospel. He gets his friends to band together to support his personal cause. 

2 Co 12:20, “For I fear lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I wish, and that I shall be found by you such as you do not wish; lest there be contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, backbitings, whisperings, conceits, tumults…”

Ga 5:20, “…idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies…”

Php 1:1,5 “Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill…”