HEY! You! Yes, you…have you been comparing yourself to other people lately? Well, STOP IT! There! That’s all I really need to say, so I could just leave it at that!
But, wait… although that’s what I really want to say, and as much as I want to shout STOP IT to you over again, I won’t. Not just because it’s a little rude, and a bit strange, but because forcing you to cease from doing something that’s become habitual out of thin air is far easier said than actually done, right? And how likely are you to actually admit that you compare yourself to another person, or wish that you had what they do right now, or measure your success based on theirs? Don’t worry, I’ll answer that for you – nooooooot very likely.
But ah! How easy it is for us to fall into the trap of comparison! The majority of us face pressures to conform to standards that are mostly unattainable through a combination of social trends, products, and expectations set forth by mankind. With these things always attempting to grasp our attention, it is no wonder that we consequently associate our worth in comparison to our neighbors, friends, and those who are successful in popular media. Moreover, God’s intention for our creation opposes these standards anyway; in consequence, it causes us to become conflicted within ourselves and therefore project it outwardly onto others.
This conflict is very much a spiritual battle, as righteousness and unrighteousness are fighting for our affection – one causes us to love who we were created to be along with those around us, while the other causes us to become confused as we seek affirmation of our identity within others, ultimately coming into more dissatisfaction than we could anticipate. Before we move forward, let’s get something straight – God is not the author of confusion and does not want you to live in such a way that you’re so confused about your identity that you seek it in anything, let alone anyone, besides Him!
It is vital, Rubies, that we are aware of how damaging comparing yourself to another person is to your spiritual walk with the Lord, especially when it becomes the catalyst to unrighteousness, attitudes of envy, low self-worth, and hatred. So, before you go compare yourself to another sister in Christ, picture perfect momma, the woman who seemingly has it all, that person on social media with the super perfect life, or ANYONE besides Jesus, please
do me a favor do yourself a HUGE favor and consider the few reasons comparing yourself to others stunts your spiritual growth I’ve outlined for you below first!
COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS SHIFTS YOUR FOCUS FROM THE THINGS OF GOD TO THE LIES OF THE DECEIVER
The enemy will do anything to separate us from the power of the cross. Not only that, but he knows how precious we are in God’s sight as the ultimate expression of who He is. So, if the enemy can place people in front of you and convince you that they are better because they have something that you don’t, he knows he’s one step closer to fulfilling his goal. Satan’s lies can cause us to find ourselves in predicaments much like the following;
Instead of knowing that you were fearfully and wonderfully made in His image, you think that you’re not good enough.
Instead of knowing that we have been given unique gifts before we were formed in our mother’s womb, you get upset with God that you didn’t receive someone else’s.
Instead of focusing on how you can spend more time with Jesus, you end up focusing your time and energy on what you do or do not have compared to another, and what you can do to change it.
Instead of meditating on the Word and promises of God, you resort to spending time in your own thoughts about why you aren’t good enough, how you wish your life could be like someone else’s, the steps you can take to mimic someone else, the mistakes you’ve made, etc.
Instead of admiring the perfection of Jesus who lived without sin, you end up admiring the fabricated beauty and riches of the world, which merely has an appearance of perfection.
Instead of ensuring your name is known in heaven, you take steps to make your name known throughout the Earth.
Situations such as these demonstrate that Satan is the ultimate deceiver, using tactics to convince believers and nonbelievers alike that we are nothing without stature, fame, beauty, and worldly possessions. Rubies, don’t give in to any other assertion but this; the truth of the matter is, we are nothing without Jesus! Jesus Christ suffered for us and left us an example that we might follow after him as we are called to do (see 1 Peter 2:21); that we might be holy as he is holy (1 Peter 1:16); that if we are to abide in him we will walk as he did (1 John 2:6). Comparing ourselves to others causes us to shift our focus from walking alongside Jesus, which, in turn, robs us of our hope, joy, righteousness, and purpose.
COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS CONTRADICTS JESUS’S DESIRE OF US TO BE UNIFIED
Before Jesus died on the cross for us, he prayed to the Father that we may be one as he and the Father God are one (John 17:21) and this was made possible when Jesus died on the cross for our sake! Yet, there is one thing that can stand in the way of this if we let it…how many of you know that once division takes root in our lives, we cannot be of one mind and spirit?
There are two destructive paths of division that comparison to another leads us down – that of envy, and that of animosity; both paths are of the enemy and ultimately baffle your interconnectedness with the body of Christ and accessing heaven. While envy makes your bones rot (Proverbs 14:30) and animosity of your sister or brother due to jealousy causes disorder (James 3:16), both ensure that the unity amongst believers that Jesus desires is not established.
Do you recall the example Paul gave the Church of Corinth concerning the unity and diversity of the body of Christ in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27? He describes how there are many members in the body of Christ and that the body cannot function the way it was designed to without each one of its members, where each member has its function and depends on the others. Since we are members of the body of Christ as a whole and individually, there are a few things he wanted to make us aware of that I believe are important to consider when we find ourselves comparing us to each other:
- You and I are one – We were baptized into the Body of Christ by one Spirit and have been made to drink into one Spirit.
- God has established you into the body of Christ as He pleased – before you were made in your mother’s womb, He knew you and created you for a specific purpose. If he wanted you to have a certain gift, he would have given it to you. But He did something better; he created your gift specifically for you so that it would fit no one else’s gift box! If we all had the same gifts, we would have no use for each other. We would not make up one body.
- You are just as integral to the body as anyone else – No matter how great or how small your gift and membership of the body of Christ seems, each is honorable. Where there is suffering from one, there should be suffering from all. Where there is honor with one, there will be rejoicing with all.
COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS PROMOTES SELF-HATRED
Hatred, including hatred of one’s self, cannot exist where God’s love is. Whether or not you are aware of it, you are coming into agreement with hatred of God’s image when you compare yourself to another. God does not hate himself, so if we are God’s creation made in His image, the temple of the living God, His workmanship, His daughters, the ultimate expression of who he is, and fearfully and wonderfully made, tell me…why should we hate ourselves? Why should we question who God created us to be? It is only when we don’t see ourselves as His and ultimately loved by Him, that we question the way we are and doubt the perfection of who we are by comparing ourselves to someone else.
It is only when you operate with a humbled heart that you should consider another more significant than yourself (Philippians 2:3) We cannot have a humbled heart with envy or regret, or bitterness flowing throughout its chambers! It is only when we operate through a lens of deception installed by the enemy that we see ourselves as inferior. Only God’s love can remove this lens, these scales from upon your eyes, that you might see that you were bought with a price into the Lord’s family, that you are oh so loved and cherished by God, and that you are an integral part of the Body of Christ.
COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHERS LEADS US TO AN UNFULFILLING DESTINATION RATHER THAN THE FULFILLMENT OF BEING IN CHRIST
I believe that the Lord was onto something when He commanded us in Exodus 20:17 that we shouldn’t covet (i.e. yearn to have, crave, or have your heart set on possessing) our neighbor’s spouse, servants, possessions, or ANYTHING that is our neighbors (Oh, and your neighbors are anyone in your direct and indirect circle of influence such as people you see on popular media, your church family, your colleagues, your family and friends, and…even your own spouse…WHOA!). God doesn’t tell us to do something because He wants to be a dictator, but rather because He desires to protect us as a loving Father. Our Father knows that covetousness leads to all kinds of trouble, including separation from Him.
When we compare ourselves to others, it is much like admiring a home and hating yours because it isn’t like the one you admire. We are only able to see the contents of the outside of the home but have no knowledge about the contents of the inside, the history behind the home, the foundation that the home is built on, nor what takes place within that home. Yet, if we were to open the blinds, evaluate the home’s blueprints, conduct a walk-through of the home, interview its occupants, or soak in the home’s atmosphere, we may quickly change our minds about the levels of admiration we once had for such a place.
“For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.”
You will consistently be met with a lack of fulfillment and profound disappointment with life, yourself, others, and especially your walk with God when comparing yourself to another. We as daughters of the Most High King cannot look horizontally for men to validate who we are when we could be looking vertically to the Kingdom of Heaven from which comes our help! When we abide in Christ, we are complete in Him (see Colossians 2:10) and find ourselves wanting nothing more than Him alone.
So, Rubies, stop looking at other people’s homes to determine how great yours is. With time, you can break the habit of comparison when you make the decision to stop searching for God in other people when you will find Him within yourself. Make examining yourself to test your level of faith serve as your surrogate for comparing yourself to others (see 2 Corinthians 13:5).
Why try to grow from the seeds planted in other believers when there are seeds of anointing, greatness, power, and love already within you just waiting for you to water them!? God is right here in our midst, wanting to help lift us out of this habit of comparison and into the joy that lies in who He is. If you don’t have the strength to water your seeds, He will do the heavy lifting if you ask it of Him. Let Him uphold you with His righteous hand as He reveals His design for your life and waters your seeds of greatness all at once!
Signed and ready to water seeds with you,