He got a new car. Man, that’s nice. And look at my piece of junk.
Her house is so big and so beautiful. All I can afford is this tiny little apartment.
Look at his muscles. I bet he uses steroids.
She just got engaged and she’s not even that spiritual. I haven’t had a date for years.
For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
2 Corinthians 10:12 NKJV
Although comparing ourselves to others is not advised by scripture, we do it all the time. Our culture, even in church, pushes us to compare anything and everything we have to what others have: dresses, houses, cars, careers, spouses, children, ministries. It’s no secret that the chief goal and strategy of Madison Avenue is to make you discontent with what you have so that you will go buy whatever it is that they’re selling.
When I was researching this week’s topic, I found plenty of articles from the world, let alone the church, that could tell me why comparison is a lousy idea. The world knows how negative it is. Why do we do it in church? The outcome is never good. When you feed into the rat race of comparison, you pay more than once.
As I reviewed those articles and thought about how the comparison game is played out in church, I came up with and summarized 25 reasons why comparing ourselves to others is a losing strategy, especially for single Christians.
- You become ungrateful and discontent for what you do have; Romans 2:4.
- A self-centered focus that seeks to make you look and feel good elevates your pride,which God hates; James 4:6.
- You strengthen a heart saturated in idolatry as you focus on what others have, that now becomes your standard, and that you now really want; 1 John 5:21.
- As you narrow your focus, jealousy, envy, covetousness, and other negative emotions take over your soul; 1 Sam. 18:6-9.
- Your desires and dreams become idols that you demand from God; Psalm 106:15.
- From idolatry comes all sorts of fleshly deeds that go to work chasing your carnal goals and/or putting down the person who has what you secretly want; Prov. 23:17.
- A competitive attitude will stop at nothing it can get away with to grasp what it wants; 1 Kings 21:1-16.
- You waste time, energy, and resources chasing what God has not given you or even ordained you to have; Gal. 5:20.
- You ignore, maybe even disdain, your own destiny and character-building program (which God was trying to put into place) so you can try to steal someone else’s destiny; Zech. 4:10a.
- You invite demonic influences to energize and live in your disobedience; 1 Sam. 15:22-23.
- You have to ignore the Bible to grab what you want; Lev. 26:14-16.
- You minimize your own individuality, unique history, spiritual growth, and God’s work in and through you; John 21:20-22.
- Seeing only the exterior, you miss what others may have gone through to get where they are right now; 1 Sam. 16:7b.
- You also stop appreciating others’ gifts, talents, and contributions to the body of Christ; 1 Cor. 12.
- With a negative attitude, you start looking for the blessings of others instead of counting your own; Rom. 13:13-14.
- You displace God as Lord in your own heart and mind by lacking faith and give Him no room to work; Heb. 11:6.
- You always find someone better off than you and someone worse off than you to make unreasonable and unfavorable comparisons with; Gal. 5:14-16.
- You become blind to the beauty and workings of the Holy Spirit around you; John 9:39-41.
- You become satisfied with less than what the Lord had originally planned for you; 2 Cor. 12:20.
- You bypass your own destiny to imitate something that doesn’t belong to you; 1 Cor. 3:1-3.
- You grieve the Holy Spirit and delay His working and blessings in your life; Eph. 4:30.
- You push your own pace outside of God’s timing and providence to eke out that fleshly, unsatisfactory fruit; Eze. 7:19.
- You exhaust your soul fighting against the Spirit of God, which always produces unwanted physical effects; Micah 6:14.
- You ignore those needing a ministry and example of authenticity, contentment, character growth, and godly ambition vs. worldly ambition; 1 Cor. 8:9.
- You widen instead of eliminate the rat race for others behind you who needed that ministry of authenticity and freedom; Rom. 14:13.
Single Christian, we were called to walk in the freedom and confidence of God’s love and purpose for us. We don’t need to be concerned about why God blessed someone else with a spouse or house or car or promotion. We’re comparing apples to mangoes when each believer’s path is different. There is room at the cross for every person’s story.
Now, right before the Christmas season hits, would be a good time to develop a spirit of gratitude and let go of all the comparisons that often go with holiday gift-giving, decorating, baking, or whatever your envy-weakness is.
Here is my prayer for you this holiday season:
3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
Ephesians 1:3-8 NLT
May you have a thankful Thanksgiving and be blessed and safe out there. Come back next Sunday for a second year of 32 fun holiday questions! BTW you can also find me on IG @glendaggordon and on FB at the same name as my blog for daily inspiration.