(The Single Woman Series – Batch 2)

This morning, I was reading Luke chapter 11 and the very first verse caught my attention. In that verse, it said that Jesus had been praying and that when he was finished, his disciples, having observed him during the process, asked him to teach them how to pray, as John had taught his disciples.

Now if you remember, John was the son of Elisabeth and Zacharias, a couple that had loved the Lord but had been without a child for many years, into their old age. They had prayed for many years for a child without God granting them their request but it was not due to any sin or wrongdoing in their lives.

We know this because Luke chapter 1:6 makes that clear, by stating that “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”.

I believe that God allowed that information to be recorded because he knows that people tend to be quick to jump to assumptions when something bad happens to a person or when someone that has professed Christianity keeps praying for something, perhaps like a child, a husband or finances but God chooses, seemingly, not to answer.

We know that this couple in the bible prayed for many years for a child because when the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias to tell him that God was going to give him and his very old wife a son, verse 13 of chapter 1 says that the angel said to him, We know that this couple in the bible prayed for many years for a child because when the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias to tell him that God was going to give him and his very old wife a son, verse 13 of chapter 1 says that the angel said to him, “Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son and thou shalt call his name John.”

The angel also outlined the purpose for the child John and in verse 17 of chapter 1, he informed Zacharias, that John would go before the Lord Jesus to prepare the hearts of the people to receive him. Years later, this is exactly what happened. Before Jesus began to preach, John, who was close in age to him was preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3:3) and urging people to prepare themselves for the Lord, whose shoe latchet he stated, he himself was not even worthy of unloosing (Luke 3:4, 16).

So, John had his God-given purpose, meaning, the reason why he was allowed to be born into the world. Jesus also had his purpose from God the Father, which he came to earth to fulfill. John’s purpose was to point people in the direction of Jesus Christ and their need for repentance. Jesus’ purpose was to teach people how to live, heal them of their natural and spiritual diseases, forgive them of their sins and die a sacrificial death so that all who believe on him and that God the Father had raised him back up from death on the third day, could be brought into relationship with God the Father through him, God the Son.

Both John and Jesus had disciples, which means followers/ supporters or people who wished to emulate or imitate them. In Luke 11:1, Jesus’ disciples were asking him to teach them how to pray, even as John had taught his disciples. It was therefore clear that the both groups of disciples were very much aware of what was going on with the other group.

Although Jesus and John had two distinct purposes or mandates from God, each was for the glory of the Kingdom of God. Their purposes, while different were therefore towards the same end and a part of a bigger, divine plan.

However, in reading the scripture this morning, I remembered another verse where the Scribes and Pharisees (two groups of people who had self-righteously considered themselves to be quite knowledgeable in the ways of God and very religious), had asked Jesus why his disciples never fasted but John’s disciples did.

Luke 5: 33-35 states:

  • “And they said unto him, Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers and likewise the disciples of the Pharisees; but thine eat and drink? And he said unto them, Can ye make the children of the bride chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them and then shall they fast in those days.”

It seems, that more than wanting to genuinely find out why the disciples of Jesus were not fasting like John’s disciples did, the Pharisees and Scribes who loved to murmur and accuse Jesus of wrongdoing were trying to create a situation of COMPARISON between the two sets of disciples, even including a third group of so called ‘disciples’ of the Pharisees.

Both groups of disciples were honouring God but still, the devil was trying to introduce COMPARISON between them. Why?

Note this: COMPARISON is dangerous and is a strategy used by the devil to create havoc in the lives of God’s children and those who profess Christianity.

As Christians and particularly as women, we need to avoid this trap because when we compare ourselves with others this is what happens:

  • 1 – We LOSE SIGHT of our God-given purpose because we are too busy focusing on somebody else’s journey. Hence, our mission gets aborted or delayed.
  • 2 – We become COMPETITIVE because when we become preoccupied with measuring our life with somebody else’s journey and achievements, this comparison breeds unhealthy competition.
  • 3 – We become JEALOUS and ENVIOUS of the life and blessings of others because unhealthy competition breeds jealousy and envy, especially when we think that, compared to what the other person has or is achieving or has been blessed with we do not measure up.
  • 4 – We become BITTER and MALICIOUS, often expressing this through gossip that is intended to try to bring down or hurt the person in some way or other by speaking unkindly of them or being critical of them or putting a negative spin on their blessings because jealousy and envy breed bitterness, malice and gossip.
  • 5 – We become INSECURE about our own lives, UNHAPPY, DISCONTENTED, NEGATIVE and even DELUSIONAL because these are the fruits that we have been cultivating, by nurturing self-destructive seeds of bitterness, malice, jealousy and envy. As Hosea 8:7 states, “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”
  • 6 – We become HIGHLY UNATTRACTIVE to others because of the negativity we have encouraged to flourish in our spirit, so much so that it is seen by others. Who would want to be around an insecure, unhappy, discontented, negative, delusional, bitter, malicious, gossiping, jealous, envious, obsessively competitive person? As a result of our behaviour, we DISQUALIFY OURSELVES from being blessed by God or DELAY THE GOOD THINGS he may have planned for us and would like to give us and we make ourselves PRIME CANDIDATES FOR HIS PUNISHMENT.

What is clear therefore is that comparison and competition are detrimental to our own selves and our own happiness. It is the vehicle that we grant the devil access to, to jeopardize our own blessings and he is always more than happy to facilitate.

I have noted that among women especially and in many families, there is endless comparison and competition, to the detriment of the persons who engage in such. This is not of God. I repeat: This is not of God. It is of the devil.

God has placed each of us here on earth to fulfill a divine mandate and what he wants you to do and the life he has planned for you to have, will not be identical to what he has planned for another. He does not give each person the same script or the same talents or the same gifts or the same strengths. He does not give us the same face (even twins have differences) or the same personality or the same circumstances.

We are born in different times, will live for different life spans, will die at different times and will have different experiences while we are alive. We did not go to the same school are not the same height, do not live the same place or have the same job or the same education.

It may be his will for you to work until you retire and for someone else to work until 35 and then to do full time ministry. How is that any of your business?

It may be his will for you to have an average salary at a particular period in time but for another to have a really large salary. What is that to you? Maybe he plans to use some of that very large salary for his work and has prepared that person’s heart to give most of it to his Kingdom.

Even where you can’t explain it, why is it any of your business? Why should it bother you?What is important is not eyeing somebody else’s journey like a hawk but focusing on our own. So what if he blesses so and so with a husband while you are still waiting? What is that to you? Why is that any of your business? So what if you’ve waited years and years? Perhaps he is trying to cultivate patience in you. The mere fact that you can’t bear to see the other sister being blessed is evidence that there is serious work that you still need to address within yourself. Your heart is NOT right with God!

When something that seems to be a good thing, happens to someone that claims to be Christian, it is either due to two things. It is either the Lord has chosen to give that good thing to that person or the Lord has not given it and the person has gotten it through disobedience.

If God has blessed the person with it, then who are you to have an issue with what God has decided to do? That is dangerous ground to tread. How dare you! And if God didn’t give it and the person acquired it through disobedience, then what do you have to be envious about? You are choosing to be envious of a plan that the devil has concocted in relation to that person, to destroy that person?

Also, when something good seemingly happens to someone, it is not your place to perform a post mortem on it to determine if it is from God or not. Is it your business? Did God call you to focus so intently on what is happening in the lives of others? If not, then what did he call you to do exactly? And are you doing it? If so, where do you find the time to obsess over and monitor others?

Any person that focuses on the journey of others to the point where she seems to be like a private investigator, is not fully focusing on her own purpose and journey through Christ Jesus. When you are focused solely on what God wants you to fulfill on this earth before your time expires, you have no time to compare and compete with others or to nurse devilish traits like jealousy, envy, malice or bitterness. You are simply too busy.

If your heart is in the right place, you will rejoice when good things happen to your sisters in Christ and family members. As Christian women, we need to become more mature in Christ and let go of petty nonsense. We need to stop making room for the devil. We need to mind our own business and spend more time praying and fasting and less time gossiping about another sister and nursing insecurities and jealousy and scheming up ways to outdo one another or to bring somebody down in the opinions of others. We need to learn how to be happy for the good news of others, even when we have prayed long and hard and God still has not granted us our request.

He knows what he is doing. Maybe it is in his plan for one to marry and another not to marry or maybe it is his plan for one sister in Christ to marry at twenty-four (24) and another to marry at thirty-nine (39). What is that to you?

Maybe he plans to give a couple three (3) children and another only one (1). Maybe it his will for one married woman to get pregnant three (3) months into the marriage and another to conceive after ten (10) years of prayer and fasting. What is that to you?

Maybe he allowed a sister in the Lord to be as beautiful as Esther in the Bible, whereas you consider your looks to be average. So what? It is the beauty of your heart that matters. Why hate on a sister because of her good looks? Do the best with what you’ve been given and stop trying to outdo her. It is not a competition! Her being more good looking than you or having a better shape than you or being slimmer than you or more graceful than you or more attractive than you (in your view) is no reason to not speak to her or to gossip wickedly about her to your friends or to secretly not like her.

When we compare and compete and try our best to malign the characters of those we are jealous of, God is displeased and he WILL punish us.

Perhaps some of our blessings are delayed because we refuse to be genuinely happy for the blessings of others.When I hear a family member or a sister in Christ is getting married to a Godly man, I rejoice with her. I put myself in her shoes and I know how I would have felt if it was me and so I feel genuine happiness for her and give God praise for the good news. I do the same when I hear a Christian couple is having a baby and begin to pray as soon as I know about it, that the pregnancy would be safe and that the woman would have a safe delivery. I also pray for couples who are married and are without a child due to one reason or another.

That is what the body of Christ needs: Praying people who are supportive of their brothers and sisters, not busybodies, insecure, vindictive and meddlesome individuals.

I don’t think wickedly to myself that because I don’t even have a boyfriend, that I am not going to pray for married couples because they have been given more than me. That is how the devil wants you to think and too many so-called Christian women are doing the devil’s bidding. God has enabled me to get to that level of maturity through Christ Jesus, although I have no husband, no boyfriend and no prospect in sight and my age is increasing.

Yes I do feel bad about my situation sometimes and puzzled as to what God has brought to pass in the lives of others. For example, there are people who God has done awesome things for, that, given the things that they were involved in, such as endless gossip, bitterness and malice, I am shocked that God chose to bless them with spouses or a promotion.

However, that does not make me hate on the blessings of others. Blessing someone, despite their faults (and we all have them) is God’s prerogative and he has said in his Word that he will be merciful to who he will be merciful and that whatever his plans are, they will not be derailed, not even by our own weakness.

If God plans for a sister to be married by 32 because it fits into a bigger scheme of things, not even her own weakness and rebellion will keep it from happening if God purposes for it to happen by that age.

When a sister or brother has received a blessing, it is God that has decided to give it to them and I am elated for them. I tell myself, if he did it for them he can certainly do it for me. I even tell him this in prayer. I say, “Lord, even as you did it for so and so, I am trusting you to do it for me.”

That is how we are supposed to operate as Christians. We are supposed to give God the glory for the good news of others and use it to fuel our faith, not cultivate ill-will and hate. Stop being so obsessed about what is being achieved by somebody else and focus on your own journey and all that God would have you do in this lifetime.

When we try to pull down other Christians to make ourselves feel better because we are discontented with our own lives, we hurt the body of Christ and the Lord is sure to deal with us.

The surest way to getting ahead is keeping focused on your purpose, your gifts, your talents and on your own spiritual growth and walk with the Lord. If God said ‘no’ to you about something you have been praying about or ‘wait longer’, do not be envious and bitter at the sister that he has said ‘yes’ to. All things are working according to his DIVINE plan, not our own selfish desires.

Beware of the spirits of COMPARISON and COMPETITION. Stop monitoring the lives of others and examine your own heart and where you have displeased the Lord. Then in humility, if you are guilty, go before the Lord and repent for your sins. Ask him to help you to love yourself and to see your own worth and value. Women that feel the need to compare and compete, obviously do not understand or appreciate their own worth. They downgrade their value, so they feel the need to pull other women down to their level, as well.

A woman that knows her worth in Jesus Christ and how special she is, has no problem complimenting another woman because she knows it takes nothing from her. It is possible for two women to be beautiful at the same time! The next time you congratulate a sister on her engagement or pregnancy or promotion or career success or whatever, don’t just let it roll off your lips. Mean it from your heart.

(Written on 02nd October, 2016)

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