We’ve all heard that “comparison is the thief of joy” yet it’s one of the issues I think we all battle, myself included. We have those who are conscious of their comparison problem and those who have defined their comparison as a boost, an inspiration to be better and do better.
The thing with comparison is how it takes different forms; the form that stems from vibrant jealousy, a little deadness in our hearts when we crave what another person possesses or owns and the other that is quite pleasant in how it shows itself in our “points of reference” or “pictorial realities” of what we want for ourselves.
Why do we compare ourselves? I think that one of the major reasons we compare is because we have no true reference for who we are, so we use the lives of others who seem to be happier, richer, recognized and accepted as a measuring tape for what we should be. At the core is our comparison is the desire for acceptance and invariably, worth.
When we compare, we become like runners out of our lane, we may get to the finish line but we’d have been disqualified and our win rendered useless. I think it is the plan of the devil to cause us to compare and conform to another person’s path so we’d end up disqualified while celebrating our “victory”.
In God, every person has a task, a role, a value to give, Paul writing to the Corinthians, reprimanded them of their comparison and partisan behavior to the servants of God be saying, ‘What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe — as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.’ We must understand that first, our identity aka point of reference is Christ and that in him is where we find our path. We cannot allow the darkness rob us of our unique value by shifting our focus from the one who has known us from the beginning and who holds our end to flashing images of a path we do not in truth understand.
Comparison really is pride, it is our attempt at judging our path by a standard God never said we should apply. It is our conceited attempt at self-deprecation, because we believe that we deserve or should have a portion of something and because we do not possess it, we are inferior or that our “insufficiency” in light of another’s possession is worthy of judgment but Paul puts it perfectly by saying, ‘Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart…’ This leads me to say, when comparisons show forth, check your motives; are they pure?
When you read scripture, one of the things that become apparent is the uniqueness of God and each person he has made, you see that each person is a unique, separate, irreplaceable part of God, a puzzle piece meant to tell the full story of his person. When we look at the bible we see our uniqueness and unique value that each of us has to offer but all this is under cushioned under the canopy of obedience to God.
Dear Believer, comparison is a concerted attempt by the devil to take you off the course by making you powerless because the power of God comes only with obedience to his call. Stay the course.