Have you ever been happy for somebody’ else but in the back of your mind wondered, what about me?
It’s OK, so have I. We tend to feel emotions like inadequacy, jealousy and envy when things don’t go the way we hoped. But this is only a human thing. God alone is above the notion of competition. It is almost a societal expectation that we compare and even compete with others. We see it on the job, in school, in the home and even in the bible. The scriptures tell stories about Hannah and Peninah, Leah and Rachel, Cain and Abel and Saul and David where competition adversely affected the persons involved.
- In the book of 1 Samuel, the scriptures talk about Hannah desiring a child but being barren. Her husband’s other wife, Peninah, had many children and bothered, humiliated and tormented Hannah about her inability to have children. Elkanah, the husband, was frustrated because he loved Hannah more than Peninah, but could not make her happy. Hannah refused to eat and felt sad for years because of it. Based on this story we can see that inadequacies in Peninah and Hannah caused jealousy which caused strife and depression.
- The case of Rachel and Leah is similar. Jacob worked 14 years for Rachel (we always say 7), but she was barren. The Lord opened Leah’s womb, because she was unloved by Jacob. Leah continued having children and this made Rachel jealous, she cried out to God ‘give me children or I’ll die’ (Genesis 30:1). It turns out that the Lord remembered Rachel, but she died during the birth of her 2nd child. Inadequacy in this case caused idolatry, desperation and despair in both women. It also caused Rachel to demand from God and question His goodness.
- The story of Cain and Abel is interesting because Abel did nothing. In Cain’s mind he wanted first place and his inadequacies made him competitive. This comparative nature in him, resulted in murder. (Genesis 4)
- The story of King Saul and David is rooted in pride and shows that jealousy can lead to murder, torment and insanity (1 Samuel 17-18).
Satan operates in pride! If we allow the emotions of jealousy and envy to take root in our hearts, we will be overtaken by torment.
Inadequacy: feelings of lacking; being insufficient; having shortcomings.
Jealousy: feelings of inadequacy; the fear of losing what we have or of losing the attention or feelings of someone close to us.
Envy: feelings of discontent aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities or luck.
Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, He walked around the earth as a mortal. He may have been entitled to demand from God or to think highly of Himself, but He didn’t. He was 100 percent God! Christ was free of relational comparisons, rivalries and competition.
It is only by adopting to a new mindset, like the mind of Christ, that we can fully trust that God knows what is best for us. It is only by embracing the promises of God that we can believe that, what we have right now, is enough for us right now. Imitating Christ is a call to live with the mind of Christ!
I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. Philippians 4:11