Fighting the Perils of Comparison, Part Two

“Is my holiday mantle up to par?”

“Gosh, I thought I would be at this place in my career by 2016, but I’m not even close.”

“I wish I had the picture perfect relationship/family that I’m seeing all over Christmas cards.”

There is something about this time of the year that can bring out our tendencies to compare like nothing else! It’s exhausting to constantly feel like we have to measure up to others or our own standards, and it’s exhausting to overwork without rest because we’re trying to keep up our place in the world. A few weeks ago we looked at the trap we fall into by comparing. Our relationships with others and with God utterly fail because inherent in all of our comparisons is the lie that our lives are only about ourselves – we are wholly me-centered.

But Jesus has given us a greater sense of significance and he gives us another option: to place God at the center of our lives. As with any struggle, one of the primary ways to fight the perils of comparisons is by feeding ourselves a steady diet of truth from God and his Word. Maybe it will help you to put these on notecards around your house or in your Bible and remind yourself of what is true. 

God cares for you, loves you, and looks after you. “What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4). The most satisfying thing that God can give people is himself. We can be satisfied with the life God has given us because we know God and he knows us, intimately.

God controls everything – the whole earth. He is in charge, has a plan, and knows what he is doing. “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:17). Our security and rest comes from remembering that God is ultimately in control – not us.

God loves you enough to make you alive when you were dead. God “made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions…” (Ephesians 2:5). God gave up his son for me. It’s Jesus’ death that enables God to look at sinners like us and make us justified, to enjoy life with him. It’s not our image, our circumstances, our achievements, or our moral failings or triumphs that make us valuable.

God has secured our futures – with him. “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 2:6). It’s kind of as if Jesus has reserved us each a spot at the table with God. We are safe eternally and God has promised to carry us on to completion. Nothing can hinder that if our faith is in Christ.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you believe these things more. Pray that God would loosen your attachment to idols. Maybe in a practical sense you take some time away from Instagram or Pinterest. Maybe it’s time to put some reasonable boundaries on how much time, energy, and money you’re putting into your image, or your achievements, or your circumstances. Send out that Christmas card, even if it’s not perfect!

At the end of the day, the question asked of us will not be, “How did you measure up to _____?” It will be, “How faithful were you with the path that God has given you to walk?” We are to answer to God for only ourselves and we are to focus on walking our own path, not comparing it to the paths of others, faithfully looking to Jesus for our contentment.

*I’m grateful for the short book Compared to Her by Sophie de Witt for some of these thoughts.

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