Comparison, the Thief of Joy
“Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Galatians 5:24-26
These verses struck my heart. My heart’s desire is to be like Christ. However, my flesh, with its passions and desires, is to be seen in a certain way. Have you ever looked at somebody else and wondered how they do all the things they do, and with such grace? I know I have, and I’ve struggled with feelings of inadequacy. “They must spend more time with Jesus. They must be a better Christian than me. I could never do that, or be that.” And maybe deep down inside, in a hidden place that I don’t like to look at and certainly don’t like others to see, a little seed of discontentment is planted. Unchecked, and fed the occasional reassurance that I am clearly not enough, the seed grows. I begin to nurture it in my heart, and as it grows, I feed it more and more, often until the bitterness is like a taste in my mouth. Sin can be sneaky that way—creeping in slowly in small compromises of character which gradually grows and blooms.
When I fall into comparison, even though I am desiring good and godly traits that I see in others, in those moments it is my selfish desire to be perceived in a certain way that drives me, rather than my love for Christ and my desire to be more like him. How do we know the difference? Because we lose our joy in these comparisons. This is why we must keep in step with the Spirit – walking with him and looking to Jesus weekly, daily, hourly. May we “be found in Him” (Phil.3:9) every morning, every noontime, and every evening. May we always be focusing on the adequacy of Christ, so that in those moments where we slip and begin to fall into comparison and jealousy, we can just look right back up at Jesus and know that we are saved, and that even though—in our brokenness—we are not enough…he always is! May we be acutely aware that Jesus is always enough for us!