I want to talk about a rather difficult but vital subject today that the Lord has really been laying on my heart the past few weeks; competition and comparison. This blog will have the same underlying subject but I really want to use it in 3 separate areas of conversation. Competition and comparison within the church, between us and the world and how the bible teaches us to combat such a destructive and addictive habit. This is something that I believe is so important to talk about, not only for the body of believers, but for us as individuals on a personal level.
Before we start, I would like to talk about the definition of comparison and what it will lead to if it goes unchecked by the Word of God. Compare means to estimate, measure, or note the similarities or dissimilarities between. To compete is to strive to gain or win something by defeating or establishing superiority over others who are trying to do the same. These are both things that are done on a daily basis by almost everyone around you. Especially in this day and age when social media is such an prominent addition to the daily lifestyle. This leads to two things to take place within our hearts; one is that we become arrogant and filled with pride and the other is being insecure and losing our sense of worth or value. Neither is righteous nor honoring to the Lord, and He does not want us to be in either of these situations.
Competition and comparison did not just all of a sudden start when social media become a worldwide adaptation. When we read throughout the bible, there is evidence of this going all the way back to before time began. When you read in Ezekiel 28, it describes that Satan became so full of pride and love for himself, that he desired to have the honor and glory that was belonged to God alone. In his arrogance, he sinned. He compared himself to God, the Holy and righteous and perfect God, and it lead to his fall and defeat. There are many more stories throughout the scriptures that talk about comparison and how it corrupts the hearts of so many people. Leah and Rachel, Joseph and his brothers, David and Saul….. It is not only found in the Old Testament, but when we look at the Pharisees throughout the New Testament, their love for comparing themselves to others caused their hearts to be full of pride and they became self-righteous and judgmental.
Just the other day, I was learning about spiritual gifts and how God gives us each individual and unique gifts that He will use to further His kingdom and share the Good News. It is so common in the body of Christ for people to have a specific gift from the Lord and then look at their brother or sister in Christ and think “Why can’t I have their gift? Mine is so useless, but theirs is such a good thing.” You may not believe me, but this is real. This is a real struggle within the body of Christ. Our focus and the things that we think are so important are so far off from where they should be. I am not just saying this to put down my brothers and sisters, this is a struggle for me as well.
A passage in scripture that resonates in my heart on a very deep level is Jeremiah 12. Jeremiah looks around at the world and the ways of the wicked, and is pained because of their prosperity. He begins to compare his life and the results he was experiencing with the people around him who did not follow the Lord. “You are always righteous, Lord, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease? You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit. You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. Yet you know me, Lord; you see me and test my thoughts about you.” Have any of you ever felt this way before? You see others around you seemingly so happy and prosperous and yet your life seems to be filled with struggle and heartache? I can tell you honestly that I have felt this way many times before.
Both of the examples I have mentioned above are far from where our hearts should be. As brothers and sister in Christ, we are called to build each other up, encouraging one another, rather than becoming jealous and comparing with who they are or what they have. This causes such a rift between the body of believers and it gives the enemy an upper hand. Rather than comparing ourselves to the people around us, we ought to place our focus solely on Christ and serving Him. So what can we do to stop this from spreading throughout the Church and corrupting the hearts of Christians? Turn to the Lord first, then to Scripture and then to prayer. Relying on Christ to fight this battle is the only way to beat this ugly reality that has over powered who we are today.
The Word of God is sufficient and will sustain us when we are in most need. The Lord has give us the armor and the tools to battle the habit of competing and comparing. Satan will come at you full force and will tempt you and try to persuade you that you need what they have, or that you deserve what they have. He will be battling with our hearts because he wants us to be divided. But that is not God’s desire for His children. He wants unity, strong relationship and fellowship with one another… The reality of competing and comparing with one another is tragic and heartbreaking.
There are ways to combat this and conquer through the help of Christ. Like mentioned above, the Word of God is alive and active. It is there to help us prosper and to give us the ability to fight the spiritual battle that takes place all around us. Hebrews 4:12 says “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Christ has given us the tools we need! But it is not enough to just read it a few times and then think that you will be equipped to fight on your own. Being in the Word daily is vital to the spiritual warfare we endure on a daily basis… Something my dad has taught me is that we cannot fight a daily battle if we are not training for it daily. This same thing applies to our walk with Christ. Here are a few verses that I have found go perfectly with this topic.
- Galatians 6:4-5 ~ “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”
- John 13:35 ~ “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
- 2 Corinthians 10:16-18 ~ “For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. But, ‘Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.’ For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.”
- Colossians 3:12-15 ~ “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, long-suffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.
- 1 Corinthians 1:10 ~ “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
- Psalms 138:8 ~ “The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever —do not abandon the works of your hands.”
- Romans 12 ~ The entire chapter
- Psalms 133:1 ~ “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brethren to dwell together in unity!”
- Philippians 4:11-13 ~ “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Another way that the Lord encourages us to battle these things with is to be in constant prayer. The only way that we will be able to succeed against the temptation and the struggle is to rely on the strength of Christ. He will help us when we are weakest and are in our greatest hour of need. The bible says that instead of worrying, we ought to be in prayer daily, and that our God, who is faithful, will hear our prayers and answer them. The constant communication with the Lord will help us to rely on Him with things get difficult and when we find ourselves comparing and becoming envious.
Might I also suggest taking time away from social media. The need to look at other peoples posts, photos, life stories, is a breeding ground for comparison, competition, and discontentment. I am not saying that social media is a sin to have or to be involved with it, but it ought to be in moderation. The temptation attached to social media is so hard to battle with, and I believe that rather than going onto the Facebook page of so-and-so or the Instagram feed or whats-their-name, we should use that time to spend with the Lord.
With all of this being said, I want to end with this; as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be encouraging one another. It doesn’t matter how lose we are with them or well we know them, we are a body of Christ, the children of God. Let’s pray for each other, take joy in one anothers accomplishments, come along side our fellow brothers and sisters when they are struggling. We are the Church.
Please know that I am speaking this out of desperation because I have witnessed the destruction it has caused. I want to encourage us all, myself included, to refocus our eyes on what really matters… Christ! Our everlasting Savior and comforter. The perfecter of all things! He desires that we have peace, and I can promise you, peace does not come from comparing or competing with one another, peace is found in Christ alone. I pray that the Holy Spirit moves with urgency through this blog, and that the hearts of Christians will be transformed again into the image of Jesus. Let’s encourage one another tonight and remember that our focus should be on Christ, the only one who can truly satisfy our hearts. Thank you so much for reading my blog. God bless!