"The Spirit That Dwelleth In Us"         

 James 4:5


     This is the universal testimony of Holy Scripture regarding the nature of all men: "The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy." Between the covers of the Bible there is not a single honorable, dignifying word about the nature of fallen man. The Word of God declares that man, by nature, is a fallen, depraved creature, filled with and ruled by envy and lust. The spirit of humanity is lust and envy. It is not capable of anything else (Gen. 6:2, 3, 5; 8:21; Job 14:14-16; Psa. 51:5;58:3; Prov. 21:10; Jer. 13:23; 17:9-10; Matt. 15:19-20; Rom. 3:10-19;5:12; 8:7; Gal. 5:17; Eph. 2:3).

     The history of man, as it is recorded both in the Bible and in historical works, as well as that which is reported in the daily media, is a history of depravity, envy and lust. We all come from bad seed. And we all produce bad seed. The source and cause of all sickness, sorrow, pain, suffering, and death in the world is sin. And the source of all sin is the depraved heart of man. Man's problem is not his environment, but his heart. Our problem is not the way we were raised, but the way we were born.

     Even the lives of God's saints, as recorded in Holy Scripture, is a history of depravity. There is not a single man or woman mentioned in the Bible, though loved of God, saved by God, and used by God, but what something is recorded to show us that "the spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy." Noah built the ark, but he also fell in drunken stupor. Abraham had Isaac, a child of faith, but he also had Ishmael, a child of unbelief. Moses led Israel through the wilderness, but he also smote the Rock, Christ Jesus, in anger. David loved God, but he murdered Uriah. Peter confessed Christ, but he also denied Christ. The Apostles all followed Christ, but they all forsook him too. Paul served his Lord zealously, but he also had a falling out with Barnabas over Mark.

     The most vivid demonstration of man's depravity is every believer's painful awareness of his own sin (Rom. 7:14-24). Though redeemed by blood, saved by grace, and born of God, every regenerate person in this world constantly struggles with his own sinful nature. We know, by daily, painful experience, that the testimony of Scripture is true: "The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy!"


Don Fortner