Many years ago, the pastor of the church I was attending challenged each of us to reflect upon our values and actions, especially with respect to one another. Do we ever compare ourselves to others in our spiritual lives? At first I was taken aback by the question. No, I would never do that! Why would he ask this? The Pastor candidly began the discussion and confessed that he often struggled with this issue. Sometimes he thinks that other pastors are more eloquent preachers or more knowledgeable about the Bible. Other times, he thinks that others should spend more time praying and serving. As I listened in amazement, I realized that I have not been honest with myself. I was just as judgmental and compared myself to others.
Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, coined this amusing observation, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Comparing oneself to others is more often the norm than the exception. The Bible strikes at the heart of this issue.
…for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?
1 Corinthians 3:3 (NLT)
Oh, that my actions would consistently reflect your decrees! Then I will not be ashamed when I compare my life with your commands.
Psalms 119:5-6 (NLT)
I am a sinner, hopelessly lost in my transgressions. I battle with petty jealousies, quarrel over insignificant issues, and I can still deceive myself, thinking I am better than others. The only legitimate comparison is when I compare myself to God. When I do, the depth of my depravity is laid bare and I realize that I still allow myself to be controlled by my sinful nature. God saved me to serve Him and serve others, not to show that I am better. Whatever skills and talents God has blessed me with should be used to uplift and encourage others to seek God.
How desperately I need Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.
Love and trust in the Lord; seek His will in your life.