Monday, November 24, 2014

Comparison: It's a Lose-Lose Propostion

Every time.

Christians are called to look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. When we remove our eyes from Him, to others, things goes south really quick every.single.time.

Whether you are comparing good things or bad, comparison sucks.

Don't Compare...

Suffering and trials. God puts us each through trials in order to make each of us more like Jesus Christ and bring glory to Himself. He does that through a various assortment of trials. Someone's bigger or smaller trial does not make your trial more or less impacting.

Each trial stands alone to the particular person. I may not have cancer, or have a parent or child with cancer, but the trial I am going through could still be rocking my world. It could still be taking my breath away by its breadth and scope in my life.

Trials don't need compared.

Gifts and calling. The bigness of someone else's call does not negate the importance of your call.

Think of Elisabeth and Mary. Elisabeth was a barren older woman, who had the privilege of bearing the Voice, John the Baptist. Her pregnancy was a miracle, announced to her husband by an angel.

But, if you get to comparing, Elisabeth's call pales in comparison to Mary's. Fresh-faced, virgin Mary, bearing the Son of God. The Messiah.

Comparison would have stolen Elisabeth's joy. Instead of rejoicing when she met pregnant Mary, she would have sulked.

Each and every call is personalized from God to you. And each is significant and important for that very reason. Someone else's big call does not make my call less legitimate. There is more than plenty of room for each to serve God in the way He has called. The entire world has not been reached, God's glory is not full up to the brim. As long as there is room to serve, there is no need for competition and comparison in the work of the Lord.

Whether you are writing a book or a blog to one or to one million, cooking for a crowd or cooking for your family-it is all significant, in as far as you are doing what God has called you to do.

Blessings and small graces. It has become vogue in the Christian world to list the good things we enjoy and hashtag blessed (#blessed).

But there has been some rumblings. If we say we are blessed because of these things, does it imply that people who don't have these things aren't blessed? Maybe they're cursed?

While I get the fact that the terms blessing and blessed encompass far more than physical and tangible things, I don't see the harm in calling these things blessings. I choose to accept these things as gifts from God. As signs of His favor to me. Thus blessings. They are all grace. Undeserved and unearned on my part.

The flip side of not thanking God for these things would be utter ungratefulness. And, I am oh so grateful for all kinds of things. Hot water. Cold water. Clean water. My bed. My clothes. And on and on and on.

Saying I can't denote myself as blessed because some other person, even a Christian, doesn't have the same thing, is falling into a comparison trap again.

Comparison puts me in the place of God. All powerful, all knowing, sovereign. Whether I am comparing blessings, or callings, or sufferings.

But, I'm not God. I don't know God's purpose for me or for someone else other than the big picture stuff. Bringing glory to Himself and continuously changing me into Christ's image. I certainly don't know how He is working that out via blessings or callings or sufferings.

I just know He is working.

And that is why I know that comparison is a losing proposition. It steals joy and contentment. Comparison makes me doubt God's goodness and faithfulness and love. Comparison is tinged with pride-in my self and my accomplishments.

Conversely: keeping my eyes on Jesus Christ brings contentment and joy.

I have learned in whatever state I am in, therewith to be content.

In Thy presence is fullness of joy, at Thy right hand are pleasures for evermore.

That's a win-win situation.