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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Monday, July 13

For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.
—James 3:16

It is a challenge to find a person with a heart that's pure; a person who will share an unconditional bond of love. When we do find someone who is free of envy, jealousy, and selfish ambitions, it would seem that this person has been sent to us by heaven. 

Yet, finding people who are deceitful and desirous of personal gain is abundantly easy. Even an innocent child can display deceitful qualities. One wonders if deceit is not a trait that's learned, but rather something that comes to us naturally. Perhaps, that is why we want to bow our spirit before those who are pure-hearted.

When we think of the many examples of envy and selfishness around us as well as in us, we can become disillusioned about the state of the world and the potential for the human race. Yet, there is also within each of us a seed of purity, a seed of peace, a seed of goodness. The spiritual task is discovering and nurturing that seed.

One way to do this is to keep our eyes and hearts open to those who have developed goodness in their lives. Watching them inspires us to become like them.

The second way is to spend time in silence. When we are in that silent place with God, we have the possibility of seeing ourselves without our familiar disguises. We are able to see our own envy and selfishness for what it is. We are able to see ourselves as God sees us. There in that space the chaos is stilled long enough for the seed to begin to grow.

Gracious God, change my selfishness to compassion, my envy to generosity.