"For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. We, however, will not boast beyond measure, but within the limits of the sphere which God appointed us...."  2 Corinthians 10:12-13, [1]

A few days ago I wrote about COMPARISON and how it's a killer that is taking out too many of us. I appreciate the comments, both within the blog and on social media. If you'd like, you can read it here

The overall message is that we compare ourselves against what we think we should be or what we should be when we look at others. This can lead to heightened insecurity, often found in the language of two extremes - "I'm not ____________ enough" or "I'm better than that person. At least _________________".

Let's talk about how we can overcome COMPARISON and have a healthier relationship with ourselves and with others, and position ourselves with the best opportunity to fulfill our calling and purpose with joy!

My awareness of my own propensity to compare myself began while I was on social media. I posted on my Facebook page - "The other day I noticed a friend's success. I didn't celebrate, I compared. Comparison is a killer." The key to getting out of the COMPARISON game is to CELEBRATE. When we can CELEBRATE the success of others, it highlights the honor within our own heart, affirms our growing maturity in Christ and increases our security and significance in our own calling. We don't have to CELEBRATE ourselves or others at the expense of anyone else. We can detox, live healthier and fuller lives. Here are some ways to CELEBRATE:

1. CELEBRATE the work of Grace (No striving.) - The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15; the chapter most known for Paul's argument for the resurrection of Jesus the Christ; he states - "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them -- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." We can celebrate the accomplishments of others because it's the work of grace. Grace has an effect on the lives of people and grace is not partial; nor plays favorites. Grace empowers us to work hard, to partner with God and in the end, whoever we have become in Christ or whatever we have accomplished with Christ, it is the work of grace. CELEBRATE the work of grace and flow with it's work within your own life. You don't have to do more; grace will do more. Yield to its influence and watch it work within your heart and life.

2. CELEBRATE the paths we take. (No loss of focus.) - I recently got eyeglasses. I needed progressive lenses to help me see things far off and up close. With progressive lenses, I am learning to look at things differently. As I was taking my eye exam (my first one ever), I thought I could see, until the doctor changed the lenses and then I could REALLY see. WOW! I felt like I was in a modern day parable. Not only am I getting glasses, but I'm learning something. In life, when we think we can see, we don't see as well as what is possible. CELEBRATION of others in the realm of relationships and spiritual matters, clarifies our focus and vision. We are able to CELEBRATE the journey of another without losing sight of our own glorious journey with Christ. May God give us the ability to see clearly. We don't need to curse our path or process. It's ours and we can engage in it joyfully and become who Jesus says we are.

3. CELEBRATE your dreams. (No illusionary dreams.) - There is no "little ol' me" in the Kingdom of God. It does not do anyone a service if we play small. We are not to think more highly of ourselves than we ought to; but with humility, we must embrace our position and roles as children of God. As such, we have dreams, callings, aspirations and desires. Whatever dreams we have and whatever resources we have are just gifts that we want to use to glorify Jesus by being faithful, taking risks and giving back to others. CELEBRATE YOUR DREAMS.

4. CELEBRATE your promises. (No victimization.) - With varying degrees, I believe most of the people I know can legitimately play the "victim" card in one way or another. As Kingdom citizens, we are not called to play the victim, but to CELEBRATE the promises that Jesus has given us. We are more than conquerors. We are overcomers. We are loved unconditionally. We are more than enough. We are given the Spirit of Adoption and not the spirit of fear. We are perfectly loved. We have peace that surpasses all understanding. Anxiety has no power over us. Comparing our lives with the lives of others, blinds us to our process and our dreams, and we are robbed of our promises. CELEBRATE Christ's love expressed in His promises to you. 

5. CELEBRATE your position. (No self criticism.) - When I suggest CELEBRATING your position, I'm talking about your position in Christ. How can we be downcast when we are in Eternal Joy? How can we be in despair when we are in Eternal Triumph and positioned to become brilliant, merciful, humble, etc.? John 15 identifies our position as that of being "in Jesus". He is the vine and we are the branches. That is worth CELEBRATING!!! As followers of Jesus, we have been reconciled back to God through Jesus Christ and our sins are not being held against us.  

6. CELEBRATE your prosperity. (No jealousy or envy.) - We are taught that each man is given a talent and what we do with that talent demonstrates our faith and our desire for increase, and for the glory of Jesus. In the creation narrative, we find that God put "seed" into His creation, so there would be a "built in" sustainable method for reproduction; i.e. increase. Humanity's original assignment was to "be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it". You have been given what you need, to prosper where you are. Don't let comparison steal you of over looking the promises in front of you. Like Nehemiah, we are rebuilding the walls of our broken lives. How do we do that? Where do we start? Start with what you have and where you are at. I often struggle, wishing I was in a bigger city, a wealthier city, etc... But, I remind myself - "Jesus loves my city and He died for these people. Someone needs to be here to love them, preach the gospel and lead and establish a Kingdom culture. Why not me? Why not us? Why not here? Why not now? That's the mantra of someone who can CELEBRATE their prosperity and not be jealous or envious of someone else's provision or success.

This is the great hope beloved! 

 

[1] Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.