From an early age we are compared with our peers. From pre-k testing to peewee sports, we become keenly aware of how we measure up to those around us. As we grow and develop we live with comparisons in almost every area of life—appearance, height, weight, skills, ability, intelligence, financial status, achievements and social acceptance. A feeling of superiority develops when we rise in comparison to those around us and a feeling of inferiority plagues us when we don’t measure up to our standard of comparison. Comparing can lead to jealousy and envy toward the person to whom you are compared. Rather than being upset at ourselves or the situation we often take out our frustration on the person to whom we feel inferior. Jealousy and envy can overtake us and eat away at our joy and purpose. Life is too short to live this way.
Gen 4:4-8, 25:27-28; 1 Sam 18:8-9; Jn 1:29, 3:26-30, 21:21-22
They came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, he is baptizing, and everyone is going to him.” To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of him.’” ”He must become more important while I become less important.” (Jn 3:26-28, 30)
One of the first sins recorded in the Bible took place when Cain compared himself with Abel. Cain had a heart problem regarding his offering to God. He withheld from God the best of his harvest, while Abel gave the first of his livestock and the best. God’s pleasure toward Abel’s offering angered Cain. Even though Cain was the only one who could remedy the situation between himself and God, he blamed his brother Abel. This anger led to jealousy and murder. In the verses listed above from the Gospel of John, John the Baptist got it right. When his disciples felt threatened because Jesus’ ministry was upstaging theirs, John clearly recognized his calling, his mission and his purpose. He did not allow jealousy to interfere with God’s plan. Putting Christ at the center of our own purpose keeps our perspective pure. We can honor our mission and realize who we are in Christ…no comparison needed.
Do you often compare yourself with others? If so, in what areas are you especially susceptible to comparing? Did your parents compare you to your siblings or other children when you were growing up? If so, what affect did it have on your self-worth? Do you compare your children with each other or with other children? How do we overcome our desire to compare ourselves with others?
Remind yourself each day that God has a special purpose for your life that only you can fulfill. You are not responsible to be like anyone or to compare yourself with anyone except Jesus. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s assurance of who you are in Christ and remember who you are not!
Thank you Lord that each person has been created by you and for you. Thank you that I am a unique creation with a purpose that you planned and designed. Allow me to be who I am in you and allow those around me to be their own unique creation. In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.