I had a random thought the other day about our human propensity to compare our performance, status, circumstances or appearance to others.
We are prone to look around at friends, co-workers, acquaintences and even total strangers we encounter out there in our every day or via the internet and size up how we are doing with how they are doing.
And we walk away feeling better or worse or affirmed or threatened.
But not transformed.
We take pride that we aren’t as decadent as the celebrities while we feel deprived that our “hot mess” isn’t as cute and charming as that Instagram post we just read.
And I think that is why we have a love-hate relationship with this habit of the flesh.
Because it is comfortable and familiar and easier to cope with feelings of being less than this one and superior to that one, and so we continue observing others in light of our own haves and have-nots.
By remaining in the safe zone of measuring ourselves against other frail humans, we never have to set the standard any higher than what we deem to be the best and worst of what is currently available in our peripheral vision.
And God says … stop it.
I find a better way to view and compare in Galatians 6:1-5
Is someone around me having a sin problem?
Gently work to restore that one and be aware and careful because I can well be tempted by the same sin.
Is someone going through a difficult season filled with pain and loss, illness or trial?
Prayerfully ask how I can be used to help shoulder the burden with this one.
Am I looking at how others are doing so I can measure my own successes and failures by those standards?
Honestly assess how I am stewarding the gifts and talents I have been given in light of my generous and glorious and amazing God who has given them to me and bring my shortcomings to the One who extends grace and mercy; the One who patiently shapes and molds me more and more into the image of His dear Son. And work this out with Him and Him alone.
It is effortless and useless to allow ourselves to remain in this cycle of comparison to others.
It is far more profitable and takes more work to begin to examine ourselves in the light of God’s Truth alone.
If we are going to measure ourselves to anything it must be according to God’s standards and not the best or worst of what we see in the people around us.
Here are a few Scriptures to ponder in light of this thought today:
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 ESV
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
2 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12: 2-3 ESV
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.
Exodus 20:17 ESV
For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Hebrews 4:12-13 ESV
As I meditate on these passages, I begin to see how wasteful it is to look at the lives and patterns of people around me to measure the course of my journey.
God has fitted me and purposed me to run my race only.
To stay in my lane.
To keep my eyes fixed on Him, the author and perfecter of my faith.
And I am only to look to you to cheer you on in your race. To offer a gentle hand when you stumble. And to accept yours extended to me when I do the same.
Let’s do the greater work of comparing ourselves to God’s standard and leave the comfortable rut of the comparison game behind us <3