“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)
I know the comparison game well. I have played it many times, whether it was comparing my fashion style to those of my friends, comparing my children’s behavior to those of others, or comparing my lack of organization skills to those who seem super organized. I have played this game often and lost every time.
Comparison reveals our brokenness. The reason we compare ourselves is because deep inside we are dissatisfied with what we have and who we are. Whether we feel good or bad after we compare ourselves to someone else, we do it because things aren’t right inside of us. It is a heart issue. Comparison is a poisonous fruit of discontentment which admits that we are not satisfied with how God made us, that we are not happy with where he has placed us, and that we don’t appreciate the life he has ordained for us. Comparing ourselves to others is an insult to God.
“Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:16)
Sadly there are numerous ways in which we compare ourselves to others. Here are just a few. Do any of them ring true for you?
We compare ourselves to others in regards to...
- our intelligence
- our godliness
- our parenting styles
- our body image
- our success
- our marital status
- our fashion abilities
- our wealth
- how crafty we are
- how “green” we are
- how disciplined we are
- how much we are able to fit on our plate
At best comparison gives us a false sense of joy when we think we fare better than others, but in time it all fades. Comparison will take away our joy, make us forget the blessings we have, lead us to grumble against an awesomely good God and turn us into self-focused, discontent, and discouraged people.
While comparing ourselves to others may distract us from the real issues going on in our hearts, it doesn’t heal those issues or deal with our sins. The only way we can break free of this comparison trap is by finding our hope and identity in Christ.
Those who know the saving power of Christ have been given a whole new identity. No longer are we enemies of God destined for eternal hell and damnation. We have been given a new standing, a new name, a new destiny.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” (1 Peter 2:9)
No longer am I the girl whose identity rests in where I live, what I do or who I am. Those are superficial conditions and my heart should not dwell there. Instead my heart needs to rest in the fact that I have been adopted into the family of God, have been rescued from sin and hell, and will live forever with Jesus.
God calls his people to be "be strong and of a good courage.” Strong, so we can fight against sin (even the sin of comparison) courageously knowing that whatever God has for us is good, profitable, and loving.
The only place where we will find this strength, good courage, and a deep-seated satisfaction with who we are and what we have is at the cross where God secured for us our hope, and redefined who we are.
Comparison robs us of joy and leads us away from Jesus. We need to stop looking to others to feel good about ourselves. Instead, look to Christ who gives joy that surpasses circumstances. As we focus on the cross, we cannot but help see the love of God for us, and be thankful for who God made us and what he has for us.
Jen Thorn lives in Illinois where she serves alongside her husband, Joe, at Redeemer Fellowship. She loves studying theology, reading the Puritans, and has a passion for all things chocolate. Jen has 4 children and blogs at jenthorn.com as well as goodmorninggirls.org. Follow her on Twitter @jenlthorn
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