Sibling Rivalry is something that seems to be deeply rooted in the theme of the Bible. Just look at the first book of the Bible by itself and see some of the rivalries that have lasted generations, some even still exist today.
Cain vs Abel a rivalry leading to death by murder.
Isaac vs Ishmael - Ishmael is believed to be a descendent of Muhammad therefore the nation of Islam can be tracked back to that rivalry.
Jacob vs Essau- Some of the original enemies of the Hebrews were descendants of Essau, including Haman who wanted to commit genocide against the Jews in the book of Esther. He was an Agagite. The Agagites got their name from King Agag who was an Amalekite who God ordered to be put to death by King Saul (who disobeyed). The Amalekites were the very first kingdom to attack the Hebrews when they left Egypt. Amalek was the grandson of Essau.
Rachel vs Leah (will discuss momentarily)
Joseph vs all of his brothers
This may be a generational curse of some sort, but more than likely it's just a deep human issue of pride. All sins stem from pride. 1 John 2:15-17 talks about the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Rivalries stem from these things and with rivalries come jealousy.
This week as I was reading through Genesis I got to this part in Genesis 30 that just kind of got to me.
You see Rachel over here battling infertility and not getting pregnant while her sister Leah is receiving honor by popping out heirs. Eventually Rachel gets sick of this and gives her slave to her husband to have a child in her honor. Then Leah stops having babies and starts to feel bad about herself so she does the same. The part that really got to me though was after the 5th or 6th child Leah says this:
Happy am I! For women will call me happy." (Gen 30:13 NASB)
It's almost like she's saying, now I'm happy cause everyone else sees that I have "this".
How often do we do this exact thing? We think, if I just had a husband then I'd be happy; or if I just had a baby; or if I just made this amount of money then I'd be content.
But with 'mo money comes 'mo problems.
I just don't know why Leah had this mindset though. Why she thought that now the jealousy that had been there all along between her and her sister would now suddenly go away.
The sad thing is that what happened next was worse for her. Her sister gave birth to Joseph who was Jacob's favorite child. I imagine her "happiness" was short lived.
When we continue to look to status or things to bring us joy then we will constantly be disappointed.
I am the oldest of three girls and am no stranger to sibling rivalry. In my family favoritism is not only transparent but abundant, we all know where we stand. We've all spent our life battling to receive favor from a parent or grandparent or even from each other in many circumstances.
When I became a Christian, this was something I realized was deeply rooted in me. It affected my walk with God and severely in ministry.
I have a strong desire to be liked, to be approved of. The problem is that I find myself seeking to get this approval from those around me or those over me in ministry or at work.
Like Leah, I often think, if I just had this (approval/position/ acceptance) then I could be happy.
I believe not only has this hindered my walk but it's been a huge set back in my ministry, my marriage, and specifically with God.
I have to battle my flesh daily to kill off jealousy. When I see someone else receive praise, I allow my feelings to get hurt. When I see someone else receive a raise in position or get something that I may desire, instead of being happy for them, I find myself like Leah thinking what can I do to attain that also.
A few weeks ago I fasted for a few days and asked God to reveal anything in me that was not of Him. After the fast, God began to reveal some deep rooted ugliness inside myself. Jealousy, self entitlement, vanity to just name a few. Let's just say, when He held the mirror up, I didn't like what I saw.
Not only was I looking to man for approval instead of God, but that sibling rivalry I had as a child still existed. I was looking to my brothers and sisters in Christ and wanting to compete with them for God's favor.
I have been walking with God for several years now and am still battling some of the same ugliness that I was when I first started. I am grateful for Him for convicting me of this. The Bible says that some things only come out through prayer and fasting (Matt 17:21), and these things they've got to GO!
My pastor taught on sins of the flesh right after this revelation had started and this verse really stood out to me and convicted me deeply.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Gal 5:19-21
I had never thought of it this way, but by allowing myself to seek man's approval, I'm doing this out of selfish ambition. I am led by jealousy and envy and allowing my flesh to have it's way in my thoughts and my life.
I began to ask God to please rid me of this and cleanse me. I asked Him how I could change and He took me on a journey through His word. Little reminders I needed to stay on track.
Romans 2:11 God has no favorites
Galatians 2:20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Romans15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
God has no favorites, we don't need to try to impress Him by being awesome, He loved us because He created us. Before Adam and Eve had sinned and before they had started their work in the garden before they had done anything to deserve His approval, He looked at His work and was well pleased and said indeed it was very good (Gen 1: 31). There is nothing that we need to do to earn His love and affection.
We must be transformed and learn to just abide in Him. I am now on a journey to kill my flesh and the sins that arise from it. Choosing to find joy in Him and His presence and seeking only His approval not man's.
I know that I am not perfect, but I don't want to be ugly on the inside. I want to be able to cheer on my brothers and sisters in their successes and not allow that to be a root of resentment and envy in my own life. I can use them as motivation to do better in areas, I may not be diligent, but not in a jealous way seeking self ambition. Rather, asking God if I may have slipped in some way or seeking Him deeper and more passionately, through His word and prayer.
I hope my transparency helps you in some way maybe leads to repentance if needed or just prayer for me on this journey I'm on in season of purging.
Love you all and will be praying for each of you. Check out this song in the link below that has been on repeat over the last month.