I have a problem. My husband has confronted me about it numerous times. It is beginning to affect our everyday lives. Frankly, I am on the verge of addiction. I cannot resist the temptation when it appears. My toxic trait is that I cannot stop clicking on clickbait. There, I said it. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting it, right?
Clickbait is a nuisance that potentially infects your computer with viruses. But I find it tough to resist because it’s a portal through which I gain access to one of my favorite things on earth—fun facts. To prove this, I will share my latest discovery. Before I continue, I did confirm that what I am about to share is true. Also, my husband said it was common knowledge, but we all didn’t go to an Ivy League school.
Divida et Impera
I learned that the idiom “divide and conquer” does not mean what I thought it did. My whole life, I thought this simple phrase meant that your team was to split up and then conquer the problem at hand (think Scooby Doo). However, this phrase, often associated with military efforts and attributed to Julius Caesar, means the opposite. The idea is to divide the enemy so they are easier to conquer.
This method was used against the Jews by enemies that could not be seen. After Solomon’s death, his son Rehoboam became king. He increased taxes, and the people of Israel suffered. This led to the rebellion and eventual split of Israel into two kingdoms, Israel and Judah. You can read more in 1 Kings 11–12. After being divided, Israel and Judah were taken into captivity by Assyria and Babylon, respectively. Division made them weak.
Who Is Dividing, and What Are They Conquering?
I have a second problem. I struggle with comparing myself and my ministry to others. I get jealous, I begin feeling inadequate and insecure, and the vicious cycle tricks me into comparing myself to others again as if I will come out on top at some point. It is a gamble every time I go to social media to see if I am doing better than, equal to, or not as well as my sisters in Christ.
I don’t want to admit this. I don’t want you to know that I struggle with these silly sins, and honestly, I don’t want this to be my burden to bear.
Jealousy is demonic. It leaves us feeling discontented. And evil wants us to stay in this conflicted state. God warned Cain of it in Genesis 4:7: “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Cain’s sin caused a divide with his brother Abel. This divide made Cain weak and led to his downfall by killing his brother.
All sin can lead to division, but I believe jealousy is a contender as the worst sin. This feels especially true within the church.
We cannot see our brothers and sisters in Christ as the enemy. We cannot let sin win. We must fight the urge to compare ourselves or our ministries. We must grow in spiritual maturity because we are on the same team. If history has taught us anything, it is that we cannot afford to be divided when we are fighting the same enemy.
How Do We Fight the War?
Usually, soldiers use weapons to win a battle. God gave us the sword of truth. Do you know how to use it? Are you memorizing Scripture to combat intrusive thoughts? Are you using it to fight off sinfulness?
The other day, I had a weak moment. I allowed bitterness and jealousy to creep in until my entire mood shifted and started to change the outcome of my day. My husband lovingly recognized what was happening and respectfully called me out. “Are you training women for your glory or God’s?” Ouch! That will preach.
I immediately texted my prayer warriors and asked for two things: to lift me up in prayer and to toss me a “sword” to fight with. Our group chat was saturated with a copious number of Scripture passages that I read and meditated on until my sinful feelings passed. I am not exaggerating when I say I immediately began feeling peace and reassurance that no matter what my audience looked like or the size of my following, God was using me. It was not about me, and I needed the perspective shift.
Gigi (what I call my grandmother) used to say, “You might just be the next Billy Graham’s Sunday school teacher.” I hated that idea. I didn’t want to just be some Sunday school teacher. Then God grabbed my heart and wrecked me. Whether I am out front or working behind the scenes, I will get no credit for my efforts to bring souls into the kingdom of God. At the end of the day, that is solely the work of the Holy Spirit, and I remind myself of this daily and am learning to be content with it.
My plea is that you become content in the position God has put you and do not allow the enemy to divide and conquer.
“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought” (1 Corinthians 1:10).