The poison being exposed is comparison. It has been labeled in our culture as common practice, and begins at an early age. If we're honest, we will admit that we quite often compare ourselves. Growing up, we are compared to our siblings and peers. Our behaviors and talents are rated and graded against each other. We are taught to evaluate whether we were measuring up to a certain set of expectations or attaining what so-and-so accomplished. Naturally, when we grow up, we trade in that childish set for a new, grown up set of comparisons about our lives and how successful we are. Children, homes, spouses, cars, jobs, weight, and looks are just a few of the areas we compare. It is all pretty exhausting, and to be frank, meaningless and fruitless. Why? Because God does not compare us to our fellow humans. He is intimately involved in each individual heart and life.
|"When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they lack wisdom and behave like fools." 2 Corinthians 10:12
The Bible is not quiet when it comes to comparison, and warns us against such petty and unwise behavior. When the Bible declares something as "foolish," it is a red flag and clear indication that the practice is in direct opposition to godly wisdom. Flee from what God calls foolish, always and quickly. Comparison, therefore, deserves no room in the life, heart, and mind of believers. Here's the simple truth: comparison is toxic.
| Comparison is the thief of joy. - Teddy Roosevelt
Comparison will distract you from the blessings God has given you, taint your perspective of self-value, and it will produce bitterness, jealousy and discontentment in your heart. All of this leaves little room for joy, satisfaction, and relishing the set apart journey that God has for you.
| Comparison ends the peace in your mind and acceptance of yourself.
Comparison darkens our view of self. You will either end up feeling terrible about yourself, or thinking you are better than everyone else. Your self-worth should not come from thinking you're more faithful, smarter, or successful than others. Those are illusions, anyway. In the same way, you should not think lowly of yourself because others seem to be more ambitious, wealthier, or attractive. God has wonderful plans for you, which is exciting! Those plans, though, look nothing like the plans He has for your brother, or your best friend, or your colleague.
The real tragedy of comparison is that we grow accustomed to viewing ourselves through the eyes of others rather than the eyes of God. Let's get real for a minute... Who are you comparing yourself to? Perhaps an unrealistic version of yourself? A family member? A fellow mom friend? Or a church member who seems to have it all together?
| "Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma." Ephesians 5:1-2
The Bible doesn't teach us to compare, but to be imitators of Christ. Here’s the good news: YOU can be free from comparison. You do not have to continue drinking the toxic lies of comparison. Christ died for exactly this type of sinful, broken human nature. There is nothing that Christ can't free you from. You are unconditionally loved, and God wants so much more for you than living in the dark world of comparison. We don't need to be concerned with how we measure up to other fallen, broken, sinful human beings, but rather we should concern ourselves with being holy as we try to live as Jesus did. This is how we become the best versions of ourselves. This is how we enjoy an abundant life and live out the unique plans God has for each of us.
If you're ready to dump this poison, then I congratulate you on taking a big step of courage. I invite you to begin examining these three areas of your faith life, and use the Scripture references as starting points of prayer and truth to declare over your life, mind, and heart.
1. Be content. We will only find true contentment in Jesus Christ. (See Psalm 23, Luke 12:15, 2 Corinthians 12:10, Philippians 4:12-13, 1 Timothy 6:6-8)
2. Give thanks. Everything that we have has been gifted from God. (See Psalm 100:4, Ephesians 2:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:18, James 1:17)
3. Trust God. He is fully good and will take care of you. (See Joshua 1:9, Psalm 20:4, Psalm 37:3-4, Proverbs 3:5-6, John 14:1, Romans 15:13)
When we get to comparing, we forget who the glory belongs to. Get ready for God to do an incredible work and set you free from comparison.
Author: Pamela Palmer