Compare! Compare! Compare!

1947-portraitofjuliet-by-man-ray

 

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~ Romans 12:2

“Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. … When Peter saw him, he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’ Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.’” ~ John 21:20-22

“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.”  ~ 1 Cor. 11:1

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” ~ Exodus 20:7

– Comparison is a common pattern of the world and it often involves coveting.  It is something to be constantly wary of although it is very hard not to do. Now, its one thing for people in the world to compare themselves one with another, but it is quite another for Christians to compare themselves with non-Christians.  While former is bad enough, the latter is like comparing apples to oranges. We are so different.

I think the above verses highlight some of the reason why we ought not to be up to comparisons. For example Exodus 20:7 teaches that covetousness is wrong.  You cannot covet unless you are already up to the business comparing.  John 21:20-22 points out that Jesus does different work in the lives of different people.  What He is doing in one person’s life is different from what He is doing in another persons life.  One other thought that comes to mind that is not a found in the above verses is that comparison belies dissatisfaction with God.  You are not happy with what God is doing or has done in your life.

That said one caveat:  I think if ever there were a way to compare ourselves, then that would be what I call comparing upwards. Paul said “Follow me as I follow Christ.” We compare ourselves with other believers in order to improve ourselves so that we can do more for God. We do not compare in order to throw a oh-poor-me-pity-party.

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