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Kick the Habit of Comparison (What to Focus on Instead)

Check any social media outlet and you’ll notice there’s a trend going on now. Actually, it's been popular since the history of the world began.

This trend is comparison, or measuring ourselves with other people.

Every single human being struggles with this. And I'm certainly not judging you. I have the same problem. The reason I know this is because the Bible talks about it. Since God is our Creator and Savior, He knows exactly everything we need - physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

I like how the NLT puts 2 Corinthians 10:12. The Apostle Paul was talking about the authority that God had given him and his friend Timothy.

Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!

When we compare ourselves to other people, we are setting ourselves up for failure. It's not meant to be this way.


1. Jealousy

We can expect two possible outcomes from concentrating on other people. The first one is jealousy. Without knowing the whole situation, we make assumptions and believe that someone else just has it better than we do. They have it easier. We look at their life and wonder why they have the upper hand.

I let this happen to myself a couple weeks ago. I was exercising with several other moms that I did not know. As I was huffing and puffing on my elliptical, a conversation that I was not a part of seemed to float over from two other women who were walking on nearby treadmills. “Oh, did I tell you what my sister and I are doing next week?” I strained to listen to the rest of the conversation as a woman began to describe her amazing upcoming vacation to her friend. I glanced over nonchalantly to see a gorgeous woman who obviously lived a perfect life... at least that’s what I decided. Here I was, feeling jealous and completely judging a stranger instead of being happy for her and her exciting news!

You may remember that God commands us not to “covet” or envy in the tenth commandment. The Bible has many other strong warnings about jealousy such as James 3:16 NLT:

For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.

2. Pride

The second possible outcome of measuring ourselves to others is pride. We can look around at our work and success and believe that we are doing pretty well. Maybe it is hard work, achievements, promotions, cleaning up our lives or being religious. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we are doing better than other people.

Jesus warns us of having a prideful attitude in Luke 18:10-14 NIV:

Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Every time we measure ourselves to other people, we are looking to see if what we do is better or worse. We look at their lives and assert ourselves into their lives. It is self-centered and we don’t belong there. We look at ourselves and become discontent. It feeds selfish ambition. The focus is on “me.”

But our lives aren't supposed to be focused on ourselves. Jesus should be the focus of each and everyone of our lives.

When God created humans, he didn't just form us out of dust, make a dough, and then mold us in cookie cutters. We are all individuals. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He knows how many hairs are on our heads. He is deeply involved in every aspect of our life. We aren't supposed to be someone else. We are supposed to be His.

Comparison has to be stopped, and we are the only ones who can decide that enough is enough. It’s a choice to stop looking at others and stop focusing on selfishness. Instead, our focus needs to be on Jesus.

Looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising its shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2 WEB)

Here are a couple important reminders for exiting this destructive ride:

1. God gave us our lives.

You are the only one that lives your life - the life that God planned and gave to you. Sometimes we don’t understand why things don’t go as planned or the way we think they should. But God works that out for us.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 NIV)

Instead of looking to the life God has given someone else, we need to look to God and trust Him with the very life that He has given us. This includes our strengths, weaknesses, genetics, mistakes, failures, and successes. God works in all of these things!

Peter, one of Jesus’ most well known disciples forgot this and got his eyes stuck on another disciple, John. Jesus had a conversation with Peter and ended it by telling Peter that the end of his life would be difficult. In fact, he would die for Jesus. Peter apparently did not like this news, and Peter turned and saw John. He asked Jesus, “Lord, what about him?”

Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” (John 21:21-22)

I imagine that Jesus could answer the same thing to any of us when we turn around and look at our friends and neighbors and ask, “What about them? Why don’t they have problems like I do? Why do they get this or that?” The answer is the same for us. “What is that to you?” It is not our concern. Our business is to live our own lives for God in the way He intended.. not to walk someone else’s path. Follow Jesus.

2. Our life is to glorify God.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV)

Remembering that our lives are for the glory of God is half the battle. When we realize that our life is to honor God, we automatically focused on Jesus. What could possibly be better than living life the way that our Designer has created for us to live? Instead of having to measure up to anyone else, we will find peace and rest. That's what we were made to do! God gave everything for us. As Romans 10:13 says, the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.


When we call out to God, we are richly blessed. Trusting that God has the best plan for our lives is really the only way to live. And when we trust Him, we know that He's going to work out the details. We can kick our comparison habit to the curb and live the way God intended.


Questions:


Do you ever feel like you can't measure up to other people or wish that you had a different life situation?


Does your mindset about your current circumstances glorify God?


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