Hello friends, it’s taking me longer to get back to our discussion than I thought. Please forgive my delay. I’ve got some writing deadlines that are pressing and keeping me busy. But I’m anxious to get back on task. So here we go…
In the Old Testament, we find two sisters, Rachel and Leah, who struggled with three temptations. The temptation to compete, collect and control. There story can be found in Gen 29, 30. It goes like this.
Isaac blessed his son Jacob and sent him out to take a wife. Jacob journeyed until he came a well in the East. And about that time, Rachel was also approaching the well to water her sheep. And Jacob saw Rachel, who was the daughter of his mother’s brother, he identified himself as her relative and kissed her.
Jacob stayed with his mother’s brother, Laban. He had two daughters, Leah the eldest and Rachel the youngest. Leah was described as the average sister, but Rachel was beautiful in form and face.
How would you like to be described as the “average” sister? Maybe your parents played favorites always comparing you to your siblings. I wonder, do you play favorites with your children? Right away, we can see where the competition started. It began with comparison. Leah was average, but Rachel was beautiful. And Jacob loved Rachel the younger sister.
Because of his love for Rachel, Jacob agreed to work for Laban for seven years in return for his daughter. Laban agreed even though it was customary for the eldest daughter to marry first.
When the wedding night finally arrived, Laban switched daughters. It wasn’t until morning that Jacob realized he had married Leah instead of Rachel. REALLY? Just how dark was it in that tent?
Laban made another deal with Jacob carried out his marriage to Leah, he could also have Rachel for seven more years of work. Jacob agreed. I can only imagine how Leah must have felt knowing that she was not loved by Jacob. Instead, he loved her sister, Rachel. Can you imagine the competition that went on between these two sisters concerning Jacaob?
What are some ways we compete today with others?
We compete for success. When someone shares about their child making the honor role, we share how our child did that too only better and sooner. We compete to look good: “I’ll be happy if I get that plastic surgery or can afford that designer label. Then I’ll be content.” We compete for the best reputation, for being a good Christian, for spiritual gifts, and even for the number of people we lead to Christ.
What do we learn from Leah and Rachel’s relationship about competition? :
- You and I can’t minister to someone we are in competition with. If there is someone in you’re competing with, you need to do two things: Confess it to God and secondly, pray for the person you’re envious of. Prayer changes the heart. A changed heart will bless another.
- We also learn that Competitive women make losers out of others in order to look good.
Guess what the bible calls this: Idolatry. Its when I put myself above God; It’s when I try to be God– which leads to living independent from God. It’s saying to God, “I’m not satisfied with what you’ve given me so I’m going to get it myself.” However, Bible teaches just the opposite, “Humble yourself and in due time, God will lift you up.”
It’s hard to wait on God to “lift us up.” We’re afraid He’ll forget us or something like that. So instead of waiting on God, we move ahead of Him. The pattern of “moving ahead of God” looks something like this…
We doubt God’s promise. Doubt leads to reasoning which is never a good idea. And reasoning gives way to scheming until we devise a plan.
Can I ask some hard questions?
Does this pattern look familiar to you?
What has been the benefit of following your own plan instead of humbling yourself and waiting on God?
How do you compete with others in your family, work place, church and community?
Stay tuned. Next up, The Temptation to Collect.