As they danced, they sang: “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. “They have credited David with tens of thousands,” he thought, “but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?”
I Samuel 18:7&8
Saul found this out the hard way. He began as a proud supporter of David. After all, David’s successes in battle were Saul’s successes. He promoted the young leader quickly. But as soon as Saul heard the people sing David’s praises, his heart changed. David had entered Saul’s territory, becoming more popular that he was in his land of Israel. Saul became jealous (vs 8), then watchful (vs 9), and then murderous (vs 11).
It’s easy to be happy for others, even proud of them, when we don’t compare their accomplishments to our own. But it’s much harder when their success stories approach our territory—the land in which we’d like to be the best.
Is there an area of your life in which you feel insecure or ill-at-ease, an area that’s undefended against jealousy? Who brings out the green-eyed monster in you? A co-worker? A fellow parent? A family member?
Just like Saul, we feel that prick of jealousy and our hearts harden. Next we become watchful, straining to learn news of their latest ventures. Before we know it, we start to wish for their failure and watch for their fall.
This is what I call “spiritual clutter,” and we can clear it right out with prayer. I find that when I pray for even more success for others, it helps my heart. Even my body relaxes when I pray for them!
Will you take up the challenge to pray for a “competitor” along with me? Make a note in your planner, on each day for a week, to pray for a person whose success clutters your spirit. If you don’t have a planner, stick a note to your deodorant—that with help you remember to keep a fresh, clean heart!
God, You give blessings and successes as You wish. I am not You. Not only do I humbly accept the amount of success You give to me, I praise You for the successes You’ve given to others. Please help me to guard my heart from jealousy! Amen.
SHANNON UPTON wants to help you clear out your spiritual clutter and make room for joy! Shannon believes that the Lord allowed her to struggle with clinical anxiety, and then healed her of it, for His purpose. She wants to help you clear out your spiritual clutter so you can fully enjoy your family and grow closer to the Lord.