Recently I was sitting in the back of my mini-van with my 5 month-old after a 10-hour road trip. The truth is, I wasn’t thinking about my unwashed hair or the spit up (and coffee) on my clothes or the fact that I honestly couldn’t remember if I had put on makeup that morning.
That is, I wasn’t thinking about it until I saw my beautiful friend walking up to say hello. For a half a second I wondered how tinted our windows were and if I should throw myself on the floor-board out of sight. Then I decided I was actually very happy to see my friend and I chuckled at life and myself as I watched her walk up with her washed hair blowing in the wind. I told my comparisons to hush and enjoyed a chat with a dear friend.
Comparison is a subtle trap and may seem innocent enough.
In pre-internet days, comparisons were limited to the people life intersected with in real time and space. Now social media provides a black hole of opportunity for comparison. Who can scroll through their Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook without facing the temptation for comparison?
The outgrowth of comparison is jealousy, insecurity, and discontentment. Then love, peace, and worship are choked out in the heart. Comparison, if allowed to root, will extinguish your worship to God.
Love Instead of Jealousy
Jealousy is to isolate one characteristic or aspect of someone’s life and want it, without any of the hardship or struggle of the person’s journey.
Jealousy dethrones God’s sovereignty by feeling entitled to another person’s blessings in life. Jealousy makes everyone a thief of what you should have.
Love instead rejoices when others rejoice. Love does nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility love considers others more significant then themselves (Phil 2:3). Love gives and spends itself for others. Jealousy is greedy, reducing another person to the one dimension of the thing you want for yourself. Love gives and spends itself for others.
Peace Instead of Insecurity
“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot” (Proverbs 14:30)
Insecurity attacks relationships by crying ‘They are more and I am less!’ Insecurity constantly measures itself up to others, always viewing people and circumstances through the lens of self.
Peace that quits the gnawing of insecurity is achieved through faith that you are who God says that you are. We must not look for rejection or shelter in the eyes of man.
Yes, we are flawed in big ways and small. But we are God’s, purchased by him through the blood of Christ. Therefore we are new, and have an eternal hope, and a present purpose through Christ. The gospel is our only shelter.
We are to approach our relationship with God in this confidence, allowing His perfect love to banish every fear. This gospel understanding escorts the incomprehensible peace of God in to settle over our weak flesh bringing strength and rest. Then we do not have to approach others through the diseased lens of our self, but can instead offer ourselves freely and generously to others. Perhaps others can find some shade and rest from their own troubled hearts, as we love in this way.
Worship Instead of Discontentment
This comparison leading to jealousy is unsettling to the Christian soul, because jealousy operates according to a worldly mindset, and we do not belong to this world. Comparison looks for worth by the world’s measure. If you belong to the world the measure of worth is fame, beauty, money, acclaim, and power. Self is congratulated and self is worshipped for every achievement. You cannot serve both God and man in your heart simultaneously. One crowds out the other.
To allow comparisons in your heart may seem harmless at first, but it leads to a dark path indeed.
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:15-16
Do not allow the enemy to steal your worship of God by entrapping you in jealousy and selfish ambition. Stealing God’s worship is the enemies oldest and strongest desire, it is the aim of his every scheme.
The purpose of our breath is to be made into the likeness of Christ for God’s glory. Do not invite comparison in to comment on this sanctification and grossly degrade Christ’s worth in you.
Instead choose love. Choose peace. Choose to worship. Choose the Incomparable Christ.
Demand that the mindset of Christ be cultivated in the secret of your thoughts.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. — Phil 2:3-8