"Comparison" by AM Leader Jennifer Zabel

“’For I know the plans I have for YOU’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not disaster, to give YOU a future and a hope.’” (Emphasis mine)

The words of Jeremiah 29:11 are familiar to many of us. As one of the verses of the bible that is most often quoted, why do you think we haven’t let these words truly sink into our hears, minds, and souls? If we had, do you think we would continue to reside in a state of discontentment, lacking any sort of peace and joy? It’s purely an assumption, but I believe if we really grasped into the depths of our being, that the Creator of the universe, the God that spoke us into existence, has called us by name and has a specific purpose for our lives, then we wouldn’t spend so much of our time comparing ourselves to those around us. We wouldn’t let the appearances, successes, failures, and relationships of others dictate how we define ourselves, or our lives. I have found that the “cancer of comparison” is one of the surest ways the enemy can get me going down a path of spiritual destruction. Satan knows that if he can get me comparing specific things about myself or things in my life to my friends, coworkers, family, or even celebrities on the cover of a magazine, then my spirit will be depressed, despondent, and vulnerable, unable to be as easily led by the Holy Spirit. I will be in a pit of self-pity and jealousy….It is disgusting, really, when you take a step back and look at it from this angle.

The bible says that “surely resentment destroys the fool and jealousy kills the simple” in Job 5:2. But, have you ever found yourself wishing you had as much money as the people down the street? Ever found yourself looking longingly at your friends’ marriage, wishing you could have married a spouse like theirs? Ever been flipping through a magazine and been practically in tears by the end, as you turned page after page of perfectly tanned, tucked, nipped, perked, and chiseled bodies, all the while thinking, “how did I get the short end of the stick when you were creating my body, God?!” Or, maybe you have been through something extremely devastating and difficult in your life, and you can’t help but wonder why your best friend’s life is so perfect and why they have practically skipped through year after year.  I would be willing to bet that we have all found ourselves at this place at one point or another. The good news is God has given us the tools to overcome this stronghold in our lives with His Spirit and His Word. When we find our worth and significance in who God says we are, then there is no need to look to others as a means of measurement.

As we dig deeper into the most common areas men and women compare themselves over the next couple of weeks, we can better understand how to recognize when we are headed down that path. My hope is that once we are aware that the “cancer” is invading us, we can begin to stop it and replace it with Truth, and ultimately find sincere contentment in our lives, marriages, and with ourselves. I Timothy 6:6 tells us that “true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.”  Read the beautiful, life-giving words that follow and meditate on them. Soak them in. Bathe your mind in them. Repeat them over and over. Say them aloud. Memorize them so that when the enemy tries to tell you otherwise, these words will come to battle for your contentment. “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” Ephesians 2:10.

I feel better already, how about you?