Comparison or similarly jealousy is maybe something that we don’t want to admit we struggle with. But the truth is we are all at fault for doing this pretty much on a daily basis. Sometimes we may not even realise that we are doing it. It is an earthly trait. In recent years it has also become more apparent due to the likes of social media. We are constantly comparing, as we scroll through other peoples glamorous lifestyles and we think they have it all together. We zoom in and breakdown aspects of these people online lives and then begin to question our own.
It’s not just social media too. We find ourselves doing it everywhere: perhaps at school, or parents in the playground or maybe even in your place of work. I think sometimes we have to realise that not everybody has it all. We need to learn to admire other people’s successes and beauty without questioning our own. Romans 3.23 says that we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. We need to start recognising that God created us all to be unique and that we shouldn’t compare ourselves to others.
Another thing which can encourage comparison is competition. And competition can be a good thing. Where you take a look at what you’re up against which then in turn motivates you to do better. On the other hand there is a line where competition can turn into envy or jealousy. James, chapter 3 verse 16, For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.’
Throughout the bible there are many stories where we can see jealousy. Cain and Abel, Joseph and his brothers, even Jesus’ journey - the Pharisees and the Sadducees were envious of his great power.
I want to speak about sisters Rachel and Leah. Genesis chapter 29. Jacobs love for Rachel was obvious, but how did this make her sister Leah feel. I think it’s safe to say that she felt undesired, unwanted, pushed aside and left to watch and look on as Jacob and Rachel’s relationship flourish.
The jealousy that stirred inside of Leah drove her to trying everything she could to win her husband’s affections. Leah gives birth to Jacobs’s first son and she named him Reuben, which means the Lord has noticed my misery and now my husband will love me. But nothing changes. She conceives again, and she names him Simeon ‘The Lord heard that I was unloved and has given me another son’. But nothing was changing. She bore him another son probably thinking third time lucky, this time named Levi which means attached. She’s thinking maybe Jacob will become attached to me I mean after all we have three sons. But what she’s doing is she’s settling for less. She’s not even looking for him to love her anymore she’s just looking for him to be attached to her.
The comparisons and jealousy within Leah became toxic and it drove her to plummeting to low self esteem and having low self worth. This is what we do. When we constantly compare ourselves to others, never measuring up and that feeling of inadequacy. Perhaps we are looking in the wrong places. Looking to the world for acceptance, self worth and purpose is not going to fulfil us. So let’s change our mindset today. Who do we need to look to for acceptance?
Leah eventually had an awakening. In the final verse of Chapter 29, she conceives again but this time there is a shift. She names him Judah, which means praise and she says now I will praise the Lord.
Now she is no longer focusing on Jacob and how to allure him. She realised that her worth and her value comes not from man but from the Lord. and we can do this too. Instead of letting comparison and jealousy to rule our lives we need to let Jesus rule in hearts. Do as Hebrews 12,2 says fix your eyes on Jesus. Because he has a mighty purpose for your life.
We’ve looked at Leah’s jealousy and heartbreak, consider also, Rachel. She too was crippled with jealousy. Genesis 30 verse 1 “When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!”. So her bitterness and jealousy begins to fester and consume her because that’s what jealousy does if it is not dealt with. It becomes overwhelming and drives you to desperation and to sometimes making hasty decisions. And we also see that this has negative effects on the relationship between the sisters. Chapter 30 verse 8 then Rachel said, “I have had a great struggle with my sister, and I have won.”
But just as God had compassion for Leah and there was a turning point and a shift in her focus, God also had compassion for Rachel. We said earlier that jealousy was an earthly trait. And God doesn’t want us to be consumed by it. Verse 22 shows us that God gave Rachel a son and she named him Joseph.
Comparison is destructive. It ruins relationships and causes us individually to feel inadequate. Not good enough. Undesired. If you spend your time fixating on someone else’s blessing, you may just miss out on God’s blessing for you’. So look to God and be blessed.