Part 1 of a 2 Part Series about the Christian Comparison Game
The comparison game. Ugh.
We all do it, even those of us who know better.
Women compare themselves to other women in so many ways.
Why can’t I keep my house as clean as she does? My pile over there has been growing since October. At what point does paper grow mold?!
Her kids are always dressed so cute. Does she think mine look like they just rolled out of bed? I mean, okay so maybe they did just stumble out of their messy rooms.
She’s got the cutest jeans and her hair always looks perfect. I don’t even want her to see me in these sweats. She must think I look frumpy… at best.
Oh my word, she feeds her family actual balanced and healthy meals. I can’t let her know I just ordered pizza….again. Is soda one of the food groups?
You get the idea. You could probably add a few more examples to the list.
But as Christian women, I’m afraid sometimes we take this comparison game in an even more dangerous direction.
Oh, I wish we didn’t! But if I’m being honest, I admit that I’ve struggled with this and I’m wondering if I’m not alone.
We fall into a Christian comparison trap.
We compare our “Christian service,” our “good works,” our “ministries,” our “Kingdom efforts.”
We can’t see the treasures that are being stored up in Heaven, but we think we can maybe estimate how much we’ve earned… and we’d like to make sure it’s at least as much as so-and-so over there, if not a little more.
She leads a Bible study every Tuesday morning. She gives handouts with detailed notes to the ladies. Doggone, she even put a cute Pinterest graphic on the pretty paper. I’ve never led a Bible study. In fact, I don’t even want to go to hers.
She is so courageous. She follows God’s leading to the most intimidating places. Can you believe she spends time with the homeless on the streets of the inner city?! I don’t even like to drive to the grocery store after dark.
That woman must be a saint. She’s been teaching the preschool class at church for 16 years. She even sits on the floor with them and patiently wipes their grimy little noses. I barely survived my own children being preschoolers.
Are you kidding me? She’s moving to Honduras? She not only learned the Spanish language, she’s now going to uproot herself and work full-time in a orphanage in Tegucigalpa. No hablo Español.
We fall into this trap, even those of us who know better have been guilty of doing it.
And I believe this Christian comparison trap may be even more detrimental than comparing who has the best home décor.
Why is it so harmful to compare our service to God to the things we perceive others are doing for Him?
I believe it’s dangerous for several reasons:
1. We are discrediting who God made us to be.
Psalm 139:13-16 says;
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
We were not thrown together haphazardly. God created us each individually, not on a homosapien assembly line where we all came out looking the same and performing the same robotic tasks.
We are all unique and our days were ordained for us each individually.
1 Corinthians 12:4-6 says;
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.
We don’t get a say in what gifts and talents we receive. We just have the enormous blessing of having the Holy Spirit to guide us and enable us to use what we’ve been given to work to glorify one God.
When we compare our spiritual gifts with those of another, we are backhandedly telling God that the gifts He gave us are not good enough.
God doesn’t make mistakes. God made you to be exactly who He wanted YOU to be.
2. We are in danger of harming the Body of Christ.
The tendency for those of us who compare ourselves to other Christians is to then allow the comparison to turn into jealousy, and jealousy can lead to resentment. When we are resenting a sister in Christ we are most likely not encouraging her.
As a body of believers we are called to build each other up so that together we can glorify God and His Kingdom.
1 Thessalonians 5:11 says,
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…
We are all on the same team. You might wish you were a point-guard, but God gifted you as a center. Stop resenting the point-guard’s swift dribbling skills and cheer her on. Those dribbling skills are beneficial to your team.
It’s not about you.
It’s not even about her.
It’s about the team, the Body of Christ, and we all should be working together and spurring each other on to do our best.
1 Corinthians 12:21 states;
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Let’s all be team players. That’s how it was designed to be. We were created to be a team that works together for one wonderful purpose and for one worthy God.
3. We could be tempted to do nothing.
When we compare ourselves to other believers we fight the urge to throw in the proverbial towel.
We think, “Well, if I’m just over here changing diapers in the nursery and no one ever seems to care or notice, then forget it!” We think that since our ministry is behind-the-scenes and no one has ever asked to write a story about our efforts in the local newspaper, then maybe what we’re doing is not good enough.
Idleness is a dangerous thing.
Remember, we are all striving toward the same goal. We shouldn’t stop doing our part because we feel it’s perceived as “too small.” Nothing is too small for God to use. And even more, nothing that God uses is small!!
God desires our obedience and not an impressive resume of things we feel are worthy endeavors.
Hoses 6:6 says:
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
It’s not about the sacrifice, it’s about our hearts. It’s about our obedience to what God has asked us to do. It’s not about what my Christian friend is doing and if it’s seemingly more amazing than what I’m doing.
We are the hands of feet of Jesus and we can’t be twirling our thumbs in resentment toward another’s gifts while trying to stand in the same place as everyone else.
Let’s stop the Christian comparison game.
We all should be laying up treasures in Heaven. Let’s start thinking of the treasures as being in one big pile lying at our Master’s feet instead of separate piles glorying us as individuals.
And let’s remember what an honor it is to be on this team in the first place.