A New Kind of Competition



When the LORD saw that Leah was not loved, he enabled her to conceive, but Rachel remained childless. Leah became pregnant and gave birth to a son. She named him Reuben, for she said, “It is because the LORD has seen my misery. Surely my husband will love me now.” Genesis 29:31

Jacob did not love Leah like he loved Rachel. So God allowed Leah to have children, but He closed Rachel’s womb.

As Leah had her sons, she named them names with meanings like, “The Lord has seen my misery,” “The Lord heard I am not loved,” and “Now at last my husband will become attached to me.” Leah hoped that Jacob would love her because of her ability to give him children.

When Rachel saw that she was not bearing Jacob any children, she became jealous of her sister. So she said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I’ll die!” Genesis 30:1

Rachel was jealous of Leah because she couldn’t have children. So she took matters in her own hands and gave Jacob her servant Bilhah so she could have children through her. Then tit-for-tat, Leah did the same thing with her servant Zilpah. Both of the servants had children.

Then finally the Lord opened Rachel’s womb and she had Joseph. After his birth she said, “The Lord has taken away my disgrace.”

Their father Laban set up this whole marriage fiasco. His decision to trick Jacob into marrying Leah first then Rachel set them up for conflict from the beginning. Leah wanted Jacob’s love and Rachel wanted to be able to have children. They both wanted what the other had!

This was a big hot mess of a situation.

Many times we create our own messes. Our messes have consequences, and they don’t always affect just us. Sometimes others are left to reap the consequences of our actions.

Jealousy is a relationship killer.

I think it’s sad that Rachel and Leah probably never got to experience a close sister relationship because they were always in competition with each other. I wonder if it could have all been different if they had been able to rise above the circumstances and gain a different perspective. Leah was trying to find fulfillment in her husband’s love. Rachel was looking for fulfillment in being able to have children.

Those things are wonderful, but ultimately we can only find true and lasting fulfillment in our relationship with the Lord. We get off track really fast when we try to find satisfaction in other things apart from Him.

Interestingly, the Lord opened Leah’s womb and closed Rachel’s. Later, He opened Rachel’s. The sisters were frustrated with each other, but the Lord was the One calling the shots all along.

I think we can all relate to the Leah and Rachel comparison trap.

We fight for our own honor. We don’t want others to be honored more than us. I recently read a book called You and Me Forever by Francis and Lisa Chan. It states that if people are going to compete with one another, they should compete by trying to outdo one another in showing honor.

Romans 12:10 says, “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.”

Just as God is the One Who opens and closes wombs, He is the Giver of all the beautiful gifts we see in each other. There are many beautiful gifts in the people all around us.

The Lord is the author and administrator of those gifts.

Comparison is a struggle for many women. It is an area of struggle in my own life that I have had to deal with time and time again. So I want to share a few practical tips that have been helping me overcome this awful comparison trap.

Whenever you see a beautiful gift in someone and you start to have a judgmental or critical thought, stop, take that thought captive, and thank God for giving your friend that beautiful gift. Pray that she will use her gift for God’s glory. Then if you have the opportunity, tell your friend how much you admire and appreciate her talent.

Doing these things will have a powerful effect on your relationships. It strengthens friendships. It encourages others. It tears down Satan’s strongholds of jealousy and comparison in your own heart. It feels incredible. It’s freeing. And most importantly, it honors God.

Proverbs 11:25 says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.”

We are refreshed when we refresh others.

When we seek to honor others above ourselves, we honor the Lord. And honoring God is our life goal. It’s all that truly matters.

Let’s start a new kind of competition, ladies. Let’s honor the Lord by trying to outdo one another in showing honor!