Big Idea: The gospel kills our pride and destroys our despair
Though it's common place in our lives, our constant comparison is killing us. NOTHING good comes from comparing ourselves to anyone else. Think about it. Comparison kills you because it inevitably leads to one of two places:
1. Comparison leads to despair
Despair is the feeling you experience when you compare yourself to someone else and deem them better than you could ever be.
I compare myself to another Christian and think, "I'll never be as holy as they are. I'll never worship like they do. I'll never love Christ like them. I'll never read my Bible, or pray like they do." I compare myself to another husband and think, "I'll never love as well, lead as humbly, provide as sufficiently, or serve as humbly he does." I compare myself to another pastor and think, "I'll never preach or lead as efficiently or effectively as he does." Comparison kills by leading to a place of despair.
2. Comparison leads to pride
Pride is the feeling you experience when you compare yourself to someone else and deem yourself better than they could ever be.
I compare myself to another Christian and think, "I'm so much more holy then they are. I love Jesus far more than they do." I compare myself to another father and think, "I'm a way better dad than that guy. I play with my kids, I'm sensitive to their needs, and I make them a priority. He doesn't do any of that." I compare myself to another pastor and think, "I'm so glad I preach better than that guy. I'm glad my theology is superior to his. I'm glad I love lost people more than he does. I'm making disciples far more effectively than he ever will."
See what I mean? Comparing ourselves to others leads to one of two evils - despair, or pride.
We need to stop comparing ourselves to other Christians, husbands, wives, moms, dads, pastors, friends, brothers, sisters, co-workers, and classmates. Instead, we need to start comparing ourselves to one person - JESUS.
When I compare myself to Jesus one thing becomes clear - He is perfect and I am not. But the good news of the gospel is this...
"God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8
The gospel kills our pride and destroys our despair. Jesus frees us from the need to compare ourselves to others.
If you're a mom...Jesus' life, death, and resurrection means you no longer need to feel a sense of guilt and despair when you read that "mommy blog" written by the woman who cooks every meal from scratch, is a constant source of creativity, and homeschools her 14 perfect children who all play different instruments, dress in denim unitards, and are fluent in Latin. She's not your standard for comparison, Jesus is.
If you're a pastor...you and I have no business comparing ourselves to other pastors and feeling a sense of superiority for any reason. They are not our standard for comparison, Jesus is.
If you're a follower of Jesus...you need not compare yourself to other Christians and despair over your comparative lack of Biblical obedience, nor feel pride because of your comparative spiritual maturity. Our Christian brothers and sisters around us are NOT our standard for comparison...JESUS IS!
Bottom line: You and I are NOT Jesus. You and I can't be Jesus. You and I will never live up to Jesus. But, because of who Jesus was and what Jesus did we don't need to. Jesus lived the life we could never live. Jesus died the death our pride deserves and our despair demands. Jesus rose again and conquered our failure to measure up to Him.
We've all done it. We've all compared ourselves to someone else at some point in our lives - other Christians, other pastors, other parents, other husbands, other wives, other students, other men, other women...the list goes on and on. We compare ourselves to everyone around us morally, spiritually, intellectually, and physically.
Let's stop comparing ourselves to those around us and start repenting of the resulting sins of pride and despair. Let's refuse to compare our lives to others and instead rest in the gracious affection, acceptance, and approval of Jesus.
This post originally appeared here on January 26, 2012.