Like it or not, life is made up of comparisons.
We compare our food choices in order to make an informed decision about what we eat. Our employers compare our work to industry standards to help us succeed. God in His Word compares the things of the flesh with the things of the Spirit to teach us.
Comparisons brew trouble, though, when we make them in order to evaluate something already decided.It’s no good to compare ourselves to others to determine our worth- God’s already decided that. Click To Tweet
There is also no gain in comparing our situations with others’ to evaluate if we have enough- God’s already provided.
Despite the apparent foolishness of unhealthy comparisons, the temptation looms anyway. If we have no helpful comparison to make, we’ll often settle for whatever reference point we can get.
Fortunately, there are many better comparisons that God suggests we make:
#1: Compare Hard Circumstances With Future Glory
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” –2 Cor 4:17
Holding up our troubles against what we know of future glory is a helpful comparison. There are so many things we don’t and won’t understand in our earthly lives. But we do have the promise that everything weighing us down now will be outweighed (beyond measure!) in the wonderful, perfect, glory of eternity.
Joni Eareckson Tada, who has lived 50 years paralyzed from the neck down, often compares her present hardship to the whole and complete resurrection body God will give her in the future. The hurt of now doesn’t hold a candle to the joy of that day.
#2: Compare Yourself to God Instead of Others
“To whom then will you liken God, or what likeness compare with him?” –Isaiah 40:18
Looking around at others gives us a false standard of measurement. We easily fall into the snares of putting people up on pedestals or building ourselves up at others’ expense. Jealousy, slander, greed, and sinful excuses often result.
When we compare ourselves to God instead of to others, we are given an accurate and beneficial perspective- on ourselves, others, and God.
Job’s story reverberates with unfairness. After tremendous loss, his friends (who, though unwise, still had their lives put together) came by to compare Job to wicked men and their own ideas.
God stepped in and had Job compare himself to God, asking where he was when the earth was formed or if he could shut up the sea. Through the comparisons Job was both humbled and comforted as he better recognized God as God and himself as a mere but beloved man.
#3: Compare Your Response to God’s Commands
“Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves” –2 Cor 13:5
In our performance-driven culture, we often compare what we do with worldly measures. We subconsciously form definitions of success, righteousness, and wisdom based on our experiences instead of God’s Word.
Comparing our responses, actions, and attitudes to God’s Word helps us see our need for God’s mercy. When we make this kind of comparison, we learn to abide in Him. Instead of striving vainly, we find ourselves seeking God, believing His will is success, righteousness, and wisdom.
A certain guy I know points out that when we find ourselves defensive, we need to check whose will we are justifying. Often our response to criticism reveals sinful motives. That’s an opportunity to apologize humbly, listen carefully, and demonstrate that God is the One we live to please, not ourselves.
Swapping out better comparisons for the unhealthy kind we often make secures us in our God-given identity.
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