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Comparing

For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding. 2 Corinthians 10:12

When comparing is the wrong choice

Have you ever found yourself thinking that someone else has it so much better than you? If you have—as I have at various times—you probably also noticed that your thoughts were not infused with the spirit of love and grace! Instead, if you were honest with yourself at all, you would have recognized jealousy, bitterness, and possibly even some hatred rising up within you. And as the apostle Paul wrote, that attitude of bitter comparison shows a dire lack of understanding on your part.

On the other hand, have you ever found yourself thinking that you were better than someone else? If so—as I have, also, at various times—you may have noticed that your mindset was not like Christ’s—with humility of mind regarding another as more important than yourself (Philippians 2:3b, paraphrased). In fact, if you were at all self-aware, you would have recognized pride, arrogance, and possibly even some hatred lodged like a rock within your soul. Once again, as Paul wrote, that attitude of a smugly superior comparison reveals a blatant lack of understanding on your part.

What do you do when you realize you’ve compared yourself to others, whether from jealousy or superiority? Acknowledge those thoughts and attitudes to God, own them before Him, make no excuses for yourself, and repent. Apply 1 John 1:9 to yourself and trust God to help you to walk comparison-free.

When comparing is the right choice

…I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord… Philippians 3:8a

You know not to compare yourself to others, whether for better or for worse. But here, Paul is directing all of us to compare two deeply important aspects of our own personal lives, one to the other—knowing Christ Jesus as Lord vs. Everything Else.

As I look around my home—my safe, secure, comfortable home—I recognize that in comparison to what others own, it lands on both sides of the spectrum. It’s better than some, not as nice as others. And I’m OK with that because my value in life is not in what I own.

However, Paul wraps it all up—possessions, wealth, beauty, talent, prowess, position, reputation, and even spiritual “ranking”—in the same package he calls All Things. He then compares that total package of his whole life to ONE thing—knowing Christ. Guess which wins?

In fact, Paul states this: “Everything else is loss compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ.” Knowing Jesus—in ever-increasing intimacy—causes everything else in your life to take its rightful—and subordinate—place. Knowing Christ doesn’t denigrate everything else, but it certainly allows you to put it all in perspective. Knowing Christ is far more valuable than Any Other Aspect of your life, whether your possessions, wealth, beauty, talent, prowess, position, reputation, or spiritual “ranking”.

I pray we all grow in our full appreciation of the surpassing value of knowing Christ.

Dorothy

© 2019, Dorothy Frick

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