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Attention Men: Insecurity and Jealousy Lead to Problems!
“Saul was afraid of David, because the Lord was with him but had left Saul. So Saul made David go away from him, and had him lead a thousand men. And David went out to the people. David did well in all that he did, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how well he did, he was afraid of him. But all Israel and Judah loved David, for he went out and came in before them (1 Samuel 18:12-16).
Insecurity and jealously has been around since the beginning of time and is well documented in the story of Cain killing Abel in Genesis 4 and also Joseph’s brothers selling him in Genesis 37. Another example comes later in the Bible in 1 Samuel and involves Saul and David.
Saul was the first king of Israel (c. 1021–1000 BC) and was chosen king both by the judge Samuel and by public acclamation. His primary purpose was to defend Israel against its many enemies, especially the Philistines. David was a solider under Saul and initially become a favorite of Saul. However, under the paranoia that David was seeking to usurp the throne, Saul attempted to kill David, forcing the latter to go into hiding for several years.
Saul becomes jealous of David because David slayed “the Philistine,” that is Goliath and the women praise David with the words, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7). Saul’s decline is marked by the frequent visitation of an “evil spirit from God.” In his depression, he twice throws his spear at David (1 Samuel 18:10-11), and even makes David a field officer in the hopes of killing him. Nevertheless, all Saul’s plans crash to the ground as David’s success mounts: “for the LORD was with him.”
Insecurity always leads to jealousy which ruins relationships and hinders leaderships. An insecure person views the world through an insecure lens, which informs every decision they make.
Saul was a classic insecure leader. He was infuriated that the women praised David received more attention than him after David killed Goliath. Instead of being happy that David was successful in battle, Saul chose to spend of the rest of his years tracking down (in David’s words) “a flea.” His jealousy clouded his judgement, hurt his relationships, and separated him from God. I am sure that Saul thought he was doing the right thing. Perhaps he was living out Proverbs 14:12. “There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” This story from Saul and David is not intended to be an interesting history story. This is Holy Scripture and as such it is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (emphasis added). So, what is God teaching us with this story?
I think the lesson here is that envy is indeed a deadly sin. Interestingly, David later wrote in Psalms 37:8, “refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” (emphasis added).
If you are insecure as a person, you how two options. Conquer it, or it will conquer you.
Below are some ideas that I ask you to prayerfully consider if you are an insecure person.
Identify A Father
Saul did not have a spiritual father. Samuel, a priest and Israel’s last judge and first prophet, served in that capacity for a while, but Saul’s actions eventually destroyed that relationship. We all need a spiritual father to affirm us and correct us. In the absence of a father, men tend to look to themselves for self-affirmation. As a boy and young man, when I had a great accomplishment, I wanted to first tell my father to hear him say, “Good job!” Of course, I wanted to tell my mother too! I still seek that affirmation, and correction, from my mother and my elder Christian brothers. If the spiritual father is absent in the life of a man, he will enter an endless loop of trying to prove himself to himself. The result is failure and insecurity.
A jealous and insure person is constantly monitoring the accomplishments of others. If a “competitor” is mentioned in conversation, they will dismiss and downplay their achievement. A true leader empowers, encourages, and supports others. A great leader will go out of their way to publicly praise others but privately corrects them.
You may recall that Jesus told us that we would do even greater things than Him. Would an insecure person have made such a statement?
Where Do You Store Your Treasure?
An insecure person is always trying to outdo everybody else for money, status, and recognition. The root cause is valuing the opinion of man more than the rewards of God. This life is only temporary, but upon our death, we will live forever. Our reward comes in heaven. Your income and status will mean nothing in heaven. If we only sought to enrich ourselves on earth, I think Jesus will say, “I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” (Matthew 25:45).
Jesus values our heart more than our money. The Word teaches us, “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20).” The next verse gives the reason for this instruction. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). The approval of man is fickle, but the approval of God has eternal implications.
The bottom line is you CAN and MUST conquer insecurity or it WILL conquer you. David was an imperfect man, like all of us, but Scripture tells us twice that he was a man “after God’s own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14, Acts 13:22). The right next step is to surround yourself with men like David, not Saul and seek affirmation from God, store up your treasure in heaven, and publicly praise others every chance you get.
Prayer: Dear God, Forgive us for the times our insecurity leads to acts of jealousness. Give us a new heart and a new spirit that seeks to honor and glorify You in all that we say and do. Amen.
Meet the Author
Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He currently serves as the President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
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