I am guilty, but probably not a party of one in this category. As much as I try, my human nature frequently compels me to want to be the best—and be recognized for it. I’ll admit it can be difficult to see others succeed where I have failed or maybe in areas in which I feel uniquely gifted, but others still surpass my abilities. I shock myself by the way I can treat another woman when I feel threatened by her talent, beauty, or spiritual maturity. And when I recognize these evil—yet so human—moments, I feel ashamed.
There’s the shame for coveting what another woman has, the shame for mapping out ways I can look better than this woman, and worst of all, shame about the amount of self-loath I am experiencing—hating my design, but also hating myself for hating myself. It’s a nasty web of trouble that leads me away from pursuing ways to build up other women.
Thankfully, the Bible gives a radically different alternative to our female measuring sticks. Sure, we’re women, and we’re bound to envy what another woman has, but Titus 2: 2-5 demonstrates the way women should live out their lives in holiness, training up other women to help each other be more like Jesus, our ultimate example:
“Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.”
The author of Titus encourages us to disciple our community of women, older and younger. How do we do this? Only by the good news of Jesus in our lives! The gospel moves us from a heart of bitterness to a heart that seeks the good—perhaps even the success—of other women.
Rather than allowing jealousy to take over when our friend gets the “next best thing;” the gospel focuses our attention on providing the biblical care that women need. We can accomplish this in a variety of different ways, but it all ends in steering one another to Christ. Notice how there’s no mention of getting ahead or looking a certain way—we’re talking about conditions of the heart here.
Don’t let the enemy convince you that life is about being the best. That’s a solo endeavor that doesn’t satisfy. Instead, let’s pursue a greater purpose that God has called each of us to take part in: to love our communities of women by helping them discover their best selves in Christ.