Comparison – The Thief of Joy or a Needed Awakener?
At my current stage in life, everything that I live structured around always brings about comparison to one degree or another. You see it in our schools, our workplaces, in creative businesses, and even in relationships/friendships. When we are faced with so many opportunities to compare one’s successes to our own, I can’t help but question whether or not comparison can be healthy. What elements of our lives exist in the thin silver lining that separates the destructive from the constructive characteristics of comparison?
As Pastor Zeta preached during the outdoor service last week, our help comes from the Lord above. He makes our paths straight and will lead us to still waters – this is something we all know. So in fact, God has the answer to my aforementioned question. The first step in ensuring that we don’t succumb to the negative feelings that arise when we judge ourselves is to acknowledge that the most powerful emotion that comparison evokes is envy. God tells us this in Proverbs 14:30 – “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”
If we are to be His children, then we must set ourselves apart from the world. I try to constantly reflect on the idea that we shouldn’t live for the people and how that comes to fruition in my own day to day life. A verse that helps me when I try to think these things through comes from Galatians 1:10 – “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” This to me is a friendly ultimatum that God presents, and strangely enough, I hear it almost daily on the Shine FM radio station. In my head, the whole verse simplifies to say: “I would rather be judged by the world and stand by God than to stand by the world and be judged by God.”
However, just to clarify, God indeed recognizes that comparison can stir our souls in a very healthy manner. In fact, of all the famous figures or people in the world, He points out one who is worthy of comparison, and that is Christ. “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” – 1 Corinthians 11:1. When we choose to develop our souls in the direction of Christ, we will inevitably live out God’s will for our lives. To conclude, I’d just like to offer up a passage that is an endearing reminder of our God’s majesty. It comes from Psalm 139:14 – “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” We are made by God in the image of Christ and in my eyes, it doesn’t get much better than that.