Stop comparing yourself to others. God has made you as you are. No, you can’t blame God for your faults, but when it comes to whether you see yourself as valued, loved, successful or useful, God has designed you to reflect Him with your gifts, your personality and your life. God has given you sufficient strength through His Spirit and through the truth of His Word for these things. So, here are three dangers of comparing your life with other people.
ONE: It divides the body
You may not want to hear this, but comparing yourself to others could actually make you the cause of divisions and factions. Paul instructed the Church of Corinth not to act like a dismembered body but to see every part of the body as one that is necessary, no matter its function. When you compare yourself to someone it’s like building up a brick wall between you and that person, a person you’re supposed to function with and for, for a common goal. It would be as silly as if the foot could say to the head, “Because I’m not like you and can’t do what you can do I’m not important.” It’s absurd. But if that could actually happen, imagine the chaos that would ensue in your body. A depressed foot. A puffed up head. Other members suffering as each member loses track of its true function.
Internalized comparisons start by eating away at your own peace and then turn into bitterness that spreads through the church causing even more division and destruction. As a part of Christ’s body through faith you don’t have to compare yourself to anyone. You are a unique, intentionally designed and crucial member of Christ’s body.
“For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body.” – 1 Corinthians 12:14-16
TWO: It Distracts You from Christ
In Ephesians 2 Christ is described as being the Head of the Church, His body. Later in chapter 4 Paul describes the body as a network of joints and ligaments all connected together and joined to their supply, which is Christ, the Head. It’s such a wonderful picture of order and growth as we imagine each part of the Church living and breathing for one common goal, maturity in Jesus. That’s the focus. Learn from the Head, grow up in Him, receive life, worth, value, direction and purpose from Him.
But if we go back to Paul’s analogy of the Church in 1 Corinthians and see that it’s possible for the members to start comparing and dividing, what’s happening is we’re, in a sense anyway, disconnecting from the Head. We’re getting distracted. And there’s probably not much the Devil enjoys more than a Christian who is distracted from Christ and His mission. Measuring our level of success in ministry, life, marriage, parenting and so on, by comparing ourselves to others is counterproductive. It stunts growth because we’re not looking to the source anymore. We’re not looking to Christ. Remember Paul’s words to the Ephesians and put your efforts towards “growing up in every way to Him who is the Head”, rather than comparing yourself to someone you weren’t designed to be.
Ephesians 4:15-15 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
THREE: It’s Not the Gospel
Sinners who cannot save themselves or do enough good to earn their forgiveness are condemned already and will spend eternity apart from God. But God, long ago in eternity past, chose to save His people who had sinned against Him by one day becoming a human in the person of Jesus to suffer and die in their place and become the only sufficient payment for their sins. That payment, received by grace alone and through faith alone is the only basis on which a person is justified before God and made righteous in His sight. All those redeemed by the sacrifice of the Lamb will forever be with God. It’s all because of Jesus. That’s the Gospel, or at least one way of describing it anyway.
In light of that truth, picture one of the redeemed living a life that finds its worth in whether he or she stands up to the successes of others or not. Imagine a man or woman who has been justified before God and accepted fully on the basis of Christ’s sacrifice then believing that he or she is not valuable because they’re not as busy, talented, outgoing, smart, funny, hospitable or musically inclined as the next person. What does that say about the Gospel? It cheapens it.
Preach the beauty of this Gospel to your heart and rest in the finished work of Christ. You are accepted, loved, valued and commissioned for His glory and uniquely gifted for that end. Find freedom in not having to perform for God, or anyone else. That’s not the Gospel. Let everything you do, every motivation to serve your family, your neighbors and your church, flow from the unearned and unconditional love of God.
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