BY: JJ VASQUEZ
The other day I unfollowed a pastor on Instagram.
Their pictures weren’t vulgar. They weren’t violent. They weren’t annoying (posting back-to-back-to-back-to-back pictures…you know who you are)
What was their crime?
They were cool. TOO COOL.
I know…it’s silly, immature, and shameful really. But I can only be honest with you. They were just too cool. We’re about the same age, serve the same God, but he was accomplishing WAY MORE THAN ME.
It was discouraging. I looked at where he was in life, and then where I was. And I immediately felt inadequate.
Comparison is a LOSE-LOSE-LOSE proposition.
- If you compare yourself to someone and takeaway that you are “BETTER” – that births arrogance. “LOSE”.
- If you compare yourself to someone and takeaway that you are “NOT AS GOOD” – that births discouragement. “LOSE”.
- If you compare yourself to someone and takeaway that you are the “ABOUT THE SAME” – that births competition. “LOSE”
Either way – you’re DONE. And like a drug, though it hurts us we turn back to it. Killing ourselves as we compare accomplishments, Twitter followers, Church size, degrees, looks, spouses, etc.
Comparison is a “Field of Knives”.
“About the same time, Joab son of Zeruiah led David’s troops out and met them at the pool of Gibeon. The two groups sat down there, facing each other from opposite sides of the pool.” 2 Samuel 13:13
David’s army and the army of Saul’s son Ishbosheth were enemies. But they had not yet gone to war. They were just enemies.
But standing there…staring at one another across from the pond…something happened.
They began to compare…
Are my biceps bigger?
Is my King better?
Is my sword sharper?
Are we the better fighters?
Comparison had taken its toll. Had it been averted, if their focus would have been elsewhere – perhaps the war would’ve been avoided as well.
But it was too late.
Comparison will always and only lead to war – with others…and within ourselves.
14 Then Abner suggested to Joab, “Let’s have a few of our warriors fight hand to hand here in front of us.”
“All right,” Joab agreed. 15 So twelve men were chosen to fight from each side—twelve men of Benjamin representing Ishbosheth son of Saul, and twelve representing David. 16 Each one grabbed his opponent by the hair and thrust his sword into the other’s side so that all of them died. So this place at Gibeon has been known ever since as The Field of Knives.” 2 Samuel 13:14-16
All of them died. LOSE-LOSE-LOSE.
Here’s the lesson: Comparison kills – You and Me. No one wins.
So if you find yourself stuck in the comparison war, here’s an easy 3 step process to help you remember and release.
I call it the ABC’s for freedom from comparison.
A – “ADMIT”…then look AWAY
When you catch yourself comparing: STOP & ADMIT this is what you’re doing right now…you’re comparing and you know it’s not good because you know it will only kill you. If only one of those soldiers would have looked away – a nation could have been saved. Admit, and then look away.
B – “BELIEVE”
Believe that God has “THE BEST”, not “THE OK”, or “THE ALRIGHT”, but “THE BEST” for you. Read Jeremiah 29:11 “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” (MSG)
In this step, you have to redefine success, not as solely numbers or amounts, but rather in obedience to God. Stay in your lane. You have to believe that success is not measured by the “typical standards” but by THE STANDARD – are you doing what God wants you to do? If so – the BEST is on its way.
C – “COMPARE”
But I thought there was no winning there?
There’s one exception to the rule.
Compare yourself to Christ.
He’s the only one you need to look like, act like, walk like, talk like, love like, preach like, and live like…
It’s an unattainable goal, true. But it’s still better, because I make that MY ONLY GOAL.
No more trying to outdo your neighbor, or build a bigger ministry, or have more likes on your photos, or make more money, or be more famous.
Just be like Jesus…
Life is clearer, simpler, and more fulfilling – when you’re only goal is: JUST BE LIKE JESUS.
(Big Thanks to my friend Doug Everaard for the lesson on comparison!)
JJ Vasquez is a Youth Pastor and Family Ministry Professor who writes about Leadership, Ministry, Family, Life, and how Jesus makes all those things work. The essays, sermons, and podcasts on this site are all an effort to add value to YOU. We hope it helps!