I’ve been listening to a sermon series by Andy Stanley called “The Comparison Trap.” It’s a sermon series based on how we often compare ourselves to others. I really liked it because I think it applies to all of us.
In comparing ourselves, we are daily engaging in a lose-lose activity and we may not even realize how destructive it is. Being rich-er or smart-er or funny-er may feel like a short-term win, but for ourselves, our families, and our marriages, comparison is a game with no winners.
You would think that the older and the more mature we get we would stop comparing ourselves to other people, but for some reason, many of us, if not all of us, still struggle with this issue today. How do you know if you struggle with this today? See if any of the following apply:
Are you exhausted from trying to keep up with _________?
Do you constantly look to the left and right and see what others have?
Are you allowing what others have to keep you from enjoying what you have?
Do you enjoy your kids or are you driving them crazy because of what other people’s kids are like?
Who would you secretly enjoy seeing fail?
I know I am guilty of this as well. I’m very competitive and so I’m constantly looking at others to see how I stack up.
Solomon, who was the wisest and wealthiest man in this world (don’t compare yourself to him), said this in Ecclesiastes 4:4-8 says
“And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.
5 Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves. 6 Better one handful with tranquility than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.
7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun:
8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business!
Solomon says that all toil or achievement comes from one person’s envy of another. Does this mean we shouldn’t work or try to achieve? No, he says, only fools fold their hands and don’t do anything. Instead, be happy and at peace with one handful of tranquility than to continue to chase after the wind and try to get more stuff that you can’t ever be satisfied with. Some of us work so hard or do so much or try to accomplish so much just to keep up with others around us, and in the end, it’s all meaningless, and Solomon says, “a miserable business.”
If you are always comparing yourselves to someone or something else to prove you are okay, you will always be chasing after the wind. You will never be satisfied.
We all look to someone or something to evaluate our “okayness”. The need for approval is engrained in us. So, who or what will you use as your reference point to tell you that you’re okay? Look to God and in Him you will see that you are better than okay, you are perfect. You are holy. You are blameless. He loves you just as you are. Don’t strive after things of this world. Don’t envy what others have. Don’t compare yourselves to others. Just revel and bask in the love and grace of God the Father today and you will find all that you need in Him.