Comparison: The Thief of Joy
“We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.” - Bob Goff
We started a new series last weekend called “The Heart of the Matter,” and we kicked it off strong, studying the story of Leah and Rachel, and the tragic back-and-forth of jealousy and comparison. As a reminder, here are the scriptures we studied:
Genesis 29: 30-35: So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years. When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi. And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing.
Genesis 30: 1-13: When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf, that even I may have children through her.” So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan. Rachel's servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali. When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. Then Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad. Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.
Comparison is such a normalized emotion in our society, and without even realizing it, from the time we’re children, it’s ingrained in us that if we don't have the newest, best, or most expensive of anything somehow we’re doing it wrong. These scriptures are such a prime example of how something that is supposed to be so joyful and such a special season of life can be tainted by jealousy and feelings of inadequacy. Each of the girls spend more effort on the appearance of fulfillment than the purpose that God has called them to, and it becomes overshadowed by greed and envy.
When I think of the quote from Bob Goff, it is such a great reminder that when we are secure in our God-given purpose, not only do we not care about what other people have or don't have, think or don't think, we don't even have time to. When we submit ourselves to the season of life, higher calling, or purpose of our gifts that only God can provide and ordain, comparison becomes nothing more than a futile attempt by the enemy to distract us and veer us off course.
One of my favorite points from the message this weekend was the idea that ultimately, the way to combat comparison is to be sure in God’s providence and seek His kingdom above our own. When our eyes are fixed on Him and the Kingdom of Heaven, the rest falls away.
I left this weekend feeling an urgency to “clean out the closet” of jealousy and comparison. Where am I holding on to comparison and don’t realize it? I would love to encourage you to not let this series go by without cleaning out the closet. Ask the Lord to show you areas where you are holding onto identity crises. He will be faithful to lead out in freedom!
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