There’s a lot of buzz out there about comparison. Instagram is full of little squares that hold quotes about how, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” and, “Flowers don’t look at the flower next to them, they just bloom.”
But we aren’t flowers. We’re people. And we’re women with flaws and a constant desire to look perfect.
We find ourselves comparing everything from our bodies, to our marriages, to how spiritually mature we are.
I know many women would give a mighty “Amen!” to our need to be delivered from the quicksand that is comparison.
But where is deliverance found? Is contentment with what we have and how God made us truly attainable?
More Than a Joy Thief
Contrary to the belief of many, joy isn’t the ultimate goal. And while it’s true that comparison steals that from you, it does something even more damaging.
Comparison is really just a glorified word for envy.
Envy sounds more evil, whereas comparison sounds more like something that “just happens” or is “just part of being a woman.” It feels acceptable and normal. So we tend to heap compliments on women stuck in these cycles, rather than getting to the root of the issue.
Truly, comparison comes from a covetous heart. It’s a heart that says, “I want what she has.” or “Why didn’t God give me that too?”
And it offends a holy, sovereign God.
Sure, envy steals our joy, but more than that, it separates us from God.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21 ESV)
What Do We Deserve?
We’re like a child on Christmas who just opened up an abundance of gifts, yet calls out for more. When there are no more presents to be discovered, he screams in ungratefulness. I tend to have harsh words for kids like that. But what lies there in those tantrums is a picture of myself.
I may have grown out of the “gimme gimme” phase around Christmas, but how many times has my heart groaned within me saying, “I deserve more!”? Better yet, how does my attitude toward my circumstances display what’s hidden under the surface of my heart?
Truly, what do we deserve?
Well, to be completely frank…Hell. We deserve eternity in Hell.
For the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23 ESV)
Because of our sin, we have earned death.
Jesus died while we were still sinners and gave us eternal life through him. (Romans 5:8). We didn’t deserve his blood shed on our behalf. We don’t deserve the treasure of knowing him and becoming like him.
How unfathomable is this gift of salvation?! That the Father would send his Son as a propitiation for sinners who hated him. If God hadn’t redeemed us, he would be just. If he were to grant us salvation and nothing more, withholding the fulfillment of all earthly desires we have, he would still be infinitely good.
Truly, we don’t deserve anything from God. But he lavishes us with grace and gifts beyond measure.
By dwelling on what another has that we don’t, we point our finger at a God who has been more than gracious to us and tell him it’s not enough. We tell him Jesus is not enough.
And we stand arrogant and ungrateful before him forgetting that everything we have is a gift. Even the very breath in our chest.
…nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. (Acts 17:25 ESV)
Dwell On The Maker
So, how do we increase thankfulness and contentment? How do we put off the weight of comparison?
We don’t need reminders of how we’re wonderfully made or how social media is only a filtered glimpse into the life of others.
We need truths about Jesus. Truths that cause us to be overcome by thankfulness and gratitude. Truths that ingrain a trust in the Lord that seeps deep into our hearts. A trust that freely and humbly appeals to the Lord about our desires, but submits to his timing and will, knowing what he chooses to give or withhold are both his grace.
That is what will deliver us from comparison. Not dwelling on how we are wonderfully made, but dwelling on the truth that our Maker is wonderful!
God loves to give good gifts to us, his Children. (Matthew 7:11; James 1:17). But in his goodness he knows when to hold back for the sake of our hearts, that we may not idolize those gifts.
Oh Father, forgive us for our envy and pride. Help us to fix our eyes on you and fall before you in thankfulness and wonder. Because you are wonderful.