“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12, New International Version)
Comparison and jealousy is a trait that plagues everyone; women, men, children. We find ourselves comparing our outward appearance, our abilities, our circumstances, and our dreams to those around us. We feel better when we aren’t the slowest, the heaviest, the least coordinated or the last picked. Our days can easily be consumed by creating an identity that displays an image that hides our insecurities, faults, and flaws. Comparison might be the most exhausting sin, because of its ability to steal our joy. Comparison’s root is discontentment and fear. It’s an inability that we have to recognize the cause and the purpose associated with our lives. The scripture above is a reminder to each of us that our struggle is not with our friend, family member, boyfriend, husband, etc, our struggle is with evil that manifests itself in our lives through situations that involve these people. This scripture is a very concise message reminding us who our teammates are.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2, New International Version).
The race that is marked out for us, by God, does not include us veering into another person’s lane. Let’s be women who care more about the well-being of that person, than what that person thinks of us. As we fix our eyes on Jesus there is no reason for us to look to the person on our right or left and compare our lives to theirs. If our eyes stay on God’s plan and calling, then we will become too preoccupied to look into another person’s lane. Jealousy and comparison in a relationship will only create strain between you and that person. The Bible has given us very clear directions on how to fight against these evil forces rather than fighting against our brothers and sisters in Christ.
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” (Ephesians 6:13, NIV).
“With the belt of truth buckled around your waist” (Ephesians 6:14)
In order to remember that our struggle is not with our brothers and sisters we need to
understand and know truth. When a situation arises that causes disagreement make sure you know the facts. Don’t allow your need to be right or justified take a place of importance over the friendship itself. Search for the truth in the situation as well as in the word of God. Don’t allow the lies of the enemy ruin a relationship.
“with the breastplate of righteousness in place” (Ephesians 6:14)
The breastplate of righteousness guards our heart. “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (Proverbs 4:23, NIV). Guard your heart from bitterness, unforgiveness, vengeance, and the other sinful responses that come with arguments, disagreements, and hurtful situations. If you allow these qualities into your heart they will begin to appear in every aspect of your life, including your healthy relationships.
“and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15)
This verse reminds us to contain the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. The use of readiness tells me that we are going to have to walk out the gospel of peace when we least expect it. There will be people that won’t want to walk peacefully with you and there will be people that you don’t want to walk peacefully with. A mindset of peace comes from believing that our cause is greater than our need for vengeance. Walking out peace tells us that our call to preach the gospel, to anyone and everyone, is greater than our distain for our brothers or sisters.
There are dozens of stories about runners who sacrificed their win to help a fallen competitor. Let’s be women who care more about the people around us, than what those people think of us. In the Olympics you don’t see other American teammates pouting that their fellow American won. No, you see their teammates, no matter the sport, supporting and cheering them on. Our struggle is not with the woman that runs faster than you at the gym nor the person that has a better grade than you in your math class. Our struggle isn’t even against that mean woman at your job. Our cause and our calling are these people, our struggle is “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12, NIV).