Comparison is a common topic of discussion and an unfortunate practice lived almost daily. For many, it’s the discipline of destruction. The subject is frequently taught in Bible studies and from the pulpit on the pitfalls and consequences where such self-serving and judgmental assessments often lead—to despair. Someone, somewhere will always have more money, a better career, a superior social platform, a bigger business, a larger church, a more significant roll…this list is endless.
The Bible says it is unwise to compare ourselves (2 Corinthians 10:12). If we understand and know comparison to be a destructive trap, why then do we still compare? What is it that causes us to go back to that dung hill of negative thought and emotional turmoil?
As for Christians, I believe the prevailing reasons we fall into this destructive trap is lack of vision, misguided purpose, and limited knowledge of our true identity. After all, are not God’s people destroyed for lack of knowledge (Hosea 4:6)? And without vision, don’t people cast off restraint (Proverbs 29:18)?
Then, what’s the solution? Is it enough to point out the obvious (that comparison is destructive and there are negative consequences) and tell people not to compare? No, I believe that such a system of thinking needs to be completely replaced. The lies need to be uprooted and replaced with Godly vision, His purpose for our lives and our true identity established in our heart–in our beliefs. Where do we start? How do we begin?
Here are three points that have helped me overcome this trap, and many others snares in my life. It’s not comprehensive but it’s a good start for those looking to begin the process. And yes—it is a process.
1. We must first uproot lies, doubt and unbelief.
Behavior modification isn’t going to work. I like to say, “If you give people a childish solution, then expect childish results.” Telling people not to compare is like telling a child not to be selfish. In my opinion, it’s not enough nor provides for lasting results. The solution is that one needs to change one’s beliefs and system of thinking. Lies, doubt and unbelief all need to be uprooted. After all, as a man thinks in his heart so is he (Proverbs 23:7).
The first thing we need to do to uproot wrong beliefs is to identify them. If you want to identify a lie, you first must know the truth, and then judge each thought by the Word of God. Do your thoughts line up with the Word of God or don’t they? If they don’t—get rid of them. Here’s what Paul say’s about this:
“ For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 NKJV
2) We must replace what we uproot with God’s Opinion—the Word.
The key to replacing comparative thinking (which leads to envy, strife and division) is found in discovery: the discovery of who God is, our individual identity in Christ, and God’s vision and purpose for our lives. This leads us to a very important question: how do you do that?
Here’s what Jesus says about this:
“Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, ‘If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’” John 8:31 NKJV
Here’s what Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, said about this:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2 NKJV
There it is!! To be free from the traps and snares of the enemy, one must know the Word. To know the Word, one must abide in the Word. You cannot apply what you don’t have or possess, therefore get into the meat of God’s Word. This leads us to the final point.
3) We must rightly apply God’s Word.
Where traps such as comparison are meant to ensnare, the Word of God is given for freedom. It’s simple: one must know and do the Word to walk in true authentic freedom. Then one can supplant the lies, traps, wrongful thought and erroneous patterns of behavior.
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:21-22 NKJV
Trust God on this–if you spend your time abiding with Him in study (reading the Word), in conversation (prayer), and doing the Word (action) as James notes in his Epistle, you will find little time wasted toiling in traps and snares designed to steal, kill and destroy.
Amen! Fred Snyder