But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind. James 3:14-16
A worrier worries about how they look to other people. They worry about what their status is in this life, if they are keeping up with the Joneses or not. James points out to us very directly where that type of thinking comes from. A warrior on the other hand uses healthy ambition. Ambition can be healthy or it can be selfish, it’s your choice. When you have selfish ambition you step on necks to get where you want to go, you bring the person down in order to raise yourself up. An interesting fact is that God wants us to rise up, but not at the expense of others. The warrior uses healthy ambition as a springboard to rise up out the circumstances he or she may find themselves in. The interesting thing about envy or selfish ambition is it comes at us from the back door. Meaning it’s human nature to be envious of other people. We don’t realize it sometimes until it’s too late and we do something we regret. I can look back at my own life and see where envy controlled the decisions I made. It’s not that I was seeking to be evil, it’s just that I am still flesh in this world and I will still be attacked by the enemy from behind. The thing we ought to be aware of is keeping our back protected and not unprotected. Let’s spend the rest of the time talking about the saddest chapter in the life of King David one of the greatest warrior’s ever, when he sinned and took Bathsheba away from Uriah.
2 Samuel 11 starts out with what the big problem was with David, when kings normally go to war in the spring David stayed behind. He let his army go ahead while he probably thought he would get a much-needed rest in his mind. Really, he had a good break from war during the winter, he should have been ready to go out and fight the war he needed to fight. By not keeping busy, he exposed his backside to the enemy and was open to attack. In our spiritual battle, we can be weary of battle, but we cannot turn our back on the battlefield. The armor of God does not protect our backside, only we can do that by continually facing the enemy. Our lives are not automatic and a warrior is the most courageous when he is facing his enemy. The warrior faces the enemy; the worrier turns away and exposes him or herself to attack.
Now David is set up for the next stage of selfish ambition and that is allowing the enemy to walk right through his backdoor. From his idle position, he spots Bathsheba bathing nearby. He had a choice to look away or to keep looking at Bathsheba. He kept looking and thinking and pondering and so the envy set into his heart. The enemy was there to stay. We go from opening ourselves to attack to being run down by the enemy.
He saw what Uriah had and wanted it. The sin started when he envied what Uriah had. He broke a 10th commandment when envy set in his heart. The next step of envy is conquest. He went from being idle to being run down by the enemy and the next stage is conquest. The conquest stage is an interesting stage where you conquer the person or thing you desire and at the same time, the enemy conquers you. Just by showing your backside to the enemy, you can open up a whole can of worms to your life. David conquered Bathsheba because he was the king and he deserved the best of the best, was his thought. So he had Bathsheba brought to him and so he broke another 10th commandment.
The next step is the cover up. Bathsheba gets pregnant and the struggle begins. How do you lie yourself out of this one? David did everything in his power to make Uriah go home and sleep with his wife, but Uriah being the humble servant to the king refused to do so. The sad part about selfish ambition is it blinds us to love. The worrier is oblivious to the devotion that may be expressed by one of the necks they are so busy stepping on. David ignored the selfless devotion and love Uriah gave him because he wanted his wife for himself. It’s so sad that he ignored all that love and devotion. David’s reward for all that devotion was an early grave for Uriah and another 10th commandment broken.
By this time, David was in full-blown worrier mode. The warrior became a worrier and that is something that is very dark place to be. Some things we can do to make sure our back is covered. Primarily always remember your back is open, the armor of God only covers your front, not your back. Your back is your responsibility and the responsibility of your fellow warriors. I have heard many Pastors say had Jonathan been there none of what happened to David would have occurred. Having a close friend like Jonathan can keep us on the battlefield facing the enemy, not turning our back on the battle. God provides these people in our lives, we just have to look for them and find them. Another way we cover our back is with prayer, but prayer is always done facing the enemy. Using God’s word is another way and that is the sword of the spirit. See, all of these things are done facing the enemy, not turning away from battle. Don’ t turn your back, make sure it’s covered by your friends and keep moving forward in the battlefield called life.
Is there a time in your life where you let selfish ambition take over and allow the enemy into your backdoor? Comments please.
© [David Howard], [David’s Body Temple], 2011-2015.