I hate treadmills, but when I get on one, it turns into a race. I know the person next to me isn’t going anywhere just like I’m not, but I feel like I have to get there faster (wherever “there” is). The problem is, I sabotage my workout when I’m constantly glancing over at their speed, incline rate, pace, heart rate, etc. No wonder the author of Hebrews says, “…let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”
Us. Not them.
If you try to run their race, you’ll mess up your own race. But here’s the problem: we live in a day of unprecedented opportunities for comparison. Everywhere you turn there’s another church or another pastor baptizing more people, starting more campuses, funding more missions, doing things cooler, better, faster, and bigger.
But you’re not them. You are you.
Whether you compare yourself through the wide open window of social media or some other way, comparison is a calling killer. Don’t do it.
Here are some thoughts to help you avoid the comparison trap…
Jesus is the standard.
Other church planters, pastors, and church buildings are not the standard for success. I have a friend who spent 10 years pastoring his church which never grew past 25 people. As I helped him transition out of pastoring, I reminded him over and over that he did not fail. “Success” in God’s eyes often looks different than it does to the world. And in my friend’s case, I believe he was successful. He did what God called him to for as long as we believe God called him to do it.
Jesus is the standard. He has called you to something specific and wired you for a specific task to be done in a specific way. The Apostle Paul put it this way:
“Oh, don’t worry; we wouldn’t dare say that we are as wonderful as these other men who tell you how important they are! But they are only comparing themselves with each other, using themselves as the standard of measurement. How ignorant!”
2 Corinthians 10:12 (NLT)
When we use others as the standard for comparison (like I do on the treadmill), we make more problems for ourselves. We turn people who should be teammates into opponents.
Kill your entitlement.
Entitlement is one of the quickest ways to kill your calling and contentment. The moment you start buying into the lie that God owes you some sort of big building or huge platform (speaking of big) you’re in big trouble.
God does owe you something but don’t make me remind you of what that is!
Envy tells God you’re not happy with what He’s already given you. Don’t slap God in the face like that! Kill your entitlement by remembering what God actually owes you and by learning to be thankful for what He already blessed you with.
Learn to rejoice for others.
I’ve struggled with envy for a long time. One thing that has greatly helped is to combat envy with heartfelt gratitude. When I see someone or something I envy, I’ve learned (and I’m still learning) to immediately thank God for that person and how God is using them, and to thank Him for what He’s already given me.
You’ll be amazed at what God will do in your heart when you genuinely thank Him for how He’s using someone else. After all, if we’re all on the same team heading toward the same goal battling the same enemy, who cares who God uses more or less? And when did we become the judge of what determines “more” or “less” to begin with?
K E V I N • M I L L E R
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