Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hey, Jealousy

I am in the final quarter of Beth Moore's David: 90 Days With A Heart Like His study. I know I have said far too many times lately that I will try to write about what I have been learning, but I admit, the task seems almost overwhelming.  I have learned so much from David's life thus far, both from the valiant victories and destructive downfalls.  I have taken note from his life and choices, as well as the supporting characters in his story.

One of the reminders I had early on in the study was regarding jealousy.  It was from the crazed actions of King Saul against a young and innocent but successful David. Saul's maniacal jealousy would cause him to throw spears at this young warrior, putting him in hiding as he hunted him down for the kill.

And this rage and insanity started with something we can all easily struggle with...comparison.

Leave it to the women in town to play the comparison game.  Here David killed Goliath, became best friends with Saul's son Jonathan, and "went out wherever Saul sent him, and behaved wisely" (I Samuel 18:6).  Saul sets David over the army and he gains the admiration of the people.  However, out come the women, dancing in the streets, playing musical instruments and singing the words that would send Saul over the edge...

"Saul has slain his thousands,
And David his ten thousands."

I Samuel 18:7

Oh, man.  Those were fighting words of comparison.  Verses 8 and 9 say,

"Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, "They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands.  Now what more can he have but the kingdom? So Saul eyed David from that day forward."

It would take me so long to fill in all the details and events that would incur, but to wrap it up succinctly with a quote from Beth in this study, "Jealousy proved the undoing of Saul."

I couldn't help but think as I read through this painful story of lost potential given away to the mania of jealousy, how often does our jealousy start with comparison?

As women, we are experts at comparing ourselves to others rather than focusing on what God has gifted us with and planned for us to accomplish for Him.

My wise husband calls it "The Killer of Comparison."  He first used that phrase with me when we were dating and I was going through a phase of comparison that was making me uncharacteristically self-conscious and insecure.  He was so right.  Comparison does kill things.  Comparison literally drove Saul to attempt to kill David on numerous occasions.  

Comparison and jealousy have another thing in common that my husband has warned about many times - they result from an unhealthy focus on self.  A self-focus is usually the cause of much personal destruction.  Take a look at another one of Beth's quotes from this study...

"Saul exhibited the core sin of all self-centered people: he focused on himself.  We need to recognize that a lack of confidence does not equal humility.  In fact, genuinely humble people have enormous confidence because it rests in a great God.  Saul's self-centeredness eventually cost him dearly, as a self-focus always does."

Things my husband has been telling me and the people he teaches and disciples for years!

Here's the thing.  I can tell you that when I have allowed comparison and jealousy to cause insecurity and ineffectiveness in my life, I have been miserable.  Sin always causes misery to a lover of God.  I have had to ask God to forgive me of this kind of self-focused internal struggle during different seasons of my life.

I have also been made miserable by others who have directed comparison and jealousy towards me as Saul did to David.  While I may not have dodged literal spears, I have certainly dodged verbal and emotional ones.  I have been devastated by the hurtful words and actions of those who had no other reason to act in such a way except for self-focused jealousy that I could not prevent no matter how hard I tried to nurture a positive relationship.  I have had to trust God and focus on pleasing Him during these hurtful times.

Let's learn from this story in God's Word, instead of learning the hard way.  Let's not allow self-centeredness to cost us dearly.  Let's not let jealousy be our undoing.  Let's pray these prayers together...

God, please forgive me for being focused on self and comparing myself to others in unhealthy ways, letting jealousy rule in my heart.

God, help me trust You to defend and protect my heart when others rally against me, throwing spears of comparison and jealousy.

God, please keep these sinful attitudes and actions out of my life so that I may be effective for You and Your kingdom.

Amen, and amen.


  1. Thanks for this post. It's always a helpful reminder to check our focus. There have be several specific times in the past few years that I've traced bitterness and anger at my own jealousy and comparison. The scary thing is how quickly it can get out of had and start affecting nearly every aspect of your life. Thanks for this reminder.

  2. Thank you for making the effort, and taking the time to share what is on your heart. It is always appreciated!