We all fall into this mindset from time to time. There are things we wish we had, wish we could do or perhaps wish were part of our description. This happens to us all – even to those who appear to have every thing they want…This even happened to some we read about in the Bible.
Comparison can be good and it can be bad. I remember as a child growing up we children measuring ourselves to our Mom’s height. We were getting almost as tall as she. There’s something fun and joyous about that memory…Then as an adult, I realized – we didn’t have to go far…Mom was just over 5 ft tall! But, for some reason, for the five of us, it was fun and it was something to brag about. When we go about setting goals and we look upon a marker, perhaps someone else, and we work hard towards that goal – comparison can be a good thing. But, however, when we look upon that person’s achievements, looks, status or things and it gives us a feeling of lacking, of not being able to meet a standard – comparison can be a bad thing.
When Comparison is Negative
I Samuel 18:8,9, “Then Saul was very angry, and the saying displeased him; and he said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed only thousands. Now what more can he have but the kingdom? So Saul eyed David from that day forward.”
When the people praised David, Saul became jealous. Even though Saul had all of the attributes that caused the people to want him as their king, the praise they gave David for his accomplishments caused him to ‘eye David‘. Saul’s focus went astray – he became consumed by this jealously to a point of danger.
Romans 9:20-21, “But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this? Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?”
When we become dissatisfied with those things about ourselves that we cannot change – comparison becomes a weight about our necks. I could wish to be taller, to have a singing voice…to be more outgoing. I cannot change anything about how God made me. And I shouldn’t. The world puts out what appears to be a standard of beauty and achievement…Outwardly, Saul should have been the epitome of worldly success – good looks, height, magnetism…but, he allowed comparison to cause him to suffer and to fall. God in all His wisdom made us all different for a purpose.
Acts 7:9, “And the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt. But God was with him.”
All of Joseph’s brothers and even his own father became tired of those dreams of Joseph. He was gifted with the sight to see his potential. He was the youngest of all of the brothers and boasted before them. This infuriated them and caused his father to reprimand him. But God had plans for Joseph. These plans would include all that Joseph shared, but for a good purpose. God has a plan for all of us. If we’re given large tasks and responsibilities or if we’re given just a simple task to accomplish. The benefit of the deed or position is not what we make out of it, the benefit is following what God has laid before us and doing it.
More examples of comparison in a negative way:
- The disciples – compared themselves among themselves Luke 18:9-14
- Rachel and Leah – they each compared themselves with the other: Genesis 30:1, 15a
When Comparison is Positive
Knowing how destructive negative comparison can be, is there a comparison that is positive? I say yes. If you are a believer our comparison should reflect the spirit and nature of God. As we grow as a Christian, our comparison should be…are we more like Jesus? Do the fruits of the Spirit indwell us and do we demonstrate them to others.
Jesus had all of the position above any could ever have, yet he made himself a servant, an example for us to follow. Jesus demonstrated how we should and could live.
I John 2:6, “He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.”
Ephesians 5:1-2, “Therefore be imitators of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
John 13:13-17, “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. If I then, yourLord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.”
Ephesians 4:22-24, “ that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.“
Philippians 2:5, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,”
Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
We are all to strive to work hard to be the best that we can be. We can balance that however with a sense of contentment. I am the way I am for a reason. The outward characteristics are set and my skillsets are set. We can strive to achieve and to improve ourselves. I think this is a good thing. We can determine to be the best ‘Me’ we can be. The most important thing however is to demonstrate thankfulness toward God for what is important. God loves us. Jesus Christ gave himself for us – not looking on the outward but desiring a relationship with our heart.
Each of us are made differently and made with certain abilities…for a reason, remember.…
I Corinthians 12:4-7, “There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:”
I Corinthians 12:11,12, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.”
I Corinthians 2:14-18, “For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body, is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased.”
What Matters Most
We should be seeking the pleasure of God in our lives...seeking to accomplish what He has set for us. We should strive to be found faithful in all we do.
I Corinthians 4:5, “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.”
Galatians 6:4, “But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.”
II Corinthians 10:17,18, “ But, he who glories, let him glory in the Lord.For not he who commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends”
So, when you find yourself comparing yourself to another turn your heart and mind toward God. Be thankful for all that He’s done for you. Be thankful that He knows you, created you and has a specific plan for you. Praise Him for all He’s done…Then, go out there and be the best YOU you can be – for Him. Demonstrate His character to others…and think of the needs of others. Do they have what you have? That is – do they know Christ as their savior. That’s the bottom line. The only comparison there is to have and this one can be changed. Do you believe? Do they believe? And if they don’t, then can you let the light of Christ live and shine through you so that there’s ultimately no comparison. All that matters in the end – Do you believe and have you accepted Christ as your Savior. This is the one thing every one needs and can make a change – for the better.
I Timothy 1:12, “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,”
I Timothy 6:6, “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.”
Hebrews 13:5, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”