Comparison Is a Trap (Hebrews 12:1)
By: Betsy St. Amant Haddox
Hebrews 12:1 (ESV) Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…
Comparison is an ugly manipulator, destined to destroy—and it goes hand in hand with envy. No good comes from comparing yourself to someone else. It’s easy to do, of course—maybe you’re hyper aware of your neighbor’s manicured lawn while your own front yard is covered in brown spots. Or maybe your best friend got the new SUV you’d been eyeing but couldn’t afford, or your co-worker got chosen for the big promotion. You look at them and think, why not me?
You immediately began creating a list in your mind of all the ways you’re superior and should have gotten it. Or perhaps you instead began to beat yourself up, charting the ways you’ve messed up and that’s surely why you were passed over.
Thoughts like that are only an endless, dark pit of the mind - one into which the devil loves nudging Christians. If he can’t have our security and eternal souls, he sure enough tries to steal our joy and tempt us into as much sin as possible in the meantime.
Think about this- if we’re so busy comparing ourselves to others around us, if we’re so consumed with seeing if we measure up or somehow condemning them if we don’t, we’re sure not focused on telling those people about the Gospel. If our hearts are eaten up with “less than” and discontent, we’re not thinking about anything holy or eternal or Kingdom-minded. Yikes! I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be guilty about that. I don’t want the devil to win that battle.
Here’s what the Bible says about being content:
Philippians 4:12-13 (ESV) I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
1 Timothy 6:6 (ESV) But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Here’s the thing about comparison - you’ll never come out pride-free. Either you’ll fancy yourself better in some way and therefore entertain pride, or you’ll consider yourself lacking and invite pride to dwell in the form of a self-obsessed pity-party. (and trust me, no one RSVP's to those events!) There’s nothing attractive or edifying about either of those paths.
Consider the words of Paul in Galatians 5:7 (ESV) You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? When we look away from our path - when we cast our eyes away from the Lord and from Truth - we run out of our lane. We sway and swerve and stumble over the lies of the enemy.
We would do well to heed the warning in these Scriptures instead and turn our eyes toward Christ, the only Source of trust contentment - and the only true escape from the comparison trap.
Betsy St. Amant Haddox is the author of more than fifteen inspirational romance novels and novellas. She resides in north Louisiana with her hero of a hubby, two total-opposite young daughters, a vast collection of coffee mugs, and an impressive stash of Pickle chips. Betsy has a B.A. in Communications and a deep-rooted passion for seeing women restored in Christ. When she’s not sweating it out at Camp Gladiator or trying to prove unicorns are real, Betsy can usually be found somewhere in the vicinity of a white-chocolate mocha—no whip. Look for her latest novel with Revell, The Key To Love. Visit her at http://www.betsystamant.com.
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