Tuesday 3/6/12 – Why Dare to Compare?
Galatians 6:4 But let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.
“I wish I could sing like that.” “Too bad I can’t pray that well.” “Why aren’t I that holy?” “Shouldn’t I know that much about the Bible, too?” You ever find yourself comparing yourself to others? I do. Well, instead of examining the works of another, according to this verse, we are to examine and rejoice in our own works. Easier said than done, we might argue after reading the previous verse Paul wrote and realizing that we’re nothing. If we’re nothing, how then can we find any good works in our lives, let alone rejoice in it? Quite simply, actually. Are you a Christian? Then according to 2 Corinthians 5:21 we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. God sees us not according to our own works, but according to His Son’s work – He sees us as righteous. The work that Christ did for us on the cross and attributed to us as righteousness is the work we can rejoice in.
But not only do we benefit from the work Christ did on the cross for us as believers, but we become the work as well. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Do you realize that no matter how badly you mess up, you’re not a piece of work to God? Instead you’re His workmanship? However, the cool thing about God’s work in our lives is that it is unique. Granted, we are all saved by grace through faith in believing in Jesus’ death and resurrection; but our walk with Jesus is not going to be exactly the same as our brother’s or sister’s, and therefore, the plan God had for us since the foundation of the world is naturally different. He’s doing something in each and every one of our lives that He’s not doing in anyone else.
There are at least three different times in the Gospels when people compared themselves to another person, and in all three times they were rebuked for doing so. One comes from Matthew 20 which is the parable of the laborers who worked out in the vineyard for different lengths of time but got paid the same. Another one is found in Luke 10 when Martha judges her sister Mary for not helping her in the kitchen. And the last one is found in John 21 when Jesus told Peter to follow Him and Peter asked what about John, and Jesus replied not to worry about John and His calling. “…What is that to you? You follow Me.” Jesus told Peter (verse 22).
So when we get tempted to compare our lives with another person’s, God asks us the same question He asked Peter, “What is that to you?” We don’t need to worry about what God’s doing in another person’s life. While it’s definitely good to be praying for others and to edify and help them in any way we can, when we start to compare what God is doing in their lives to what He’s doing in our lives, that’s when we cross the line. Realize that people are different, have different histories, different convictions, different gifts and talents, and ultimately have a different plan for their lives from God. Naturally then, God will be doing different things in these people’s lives than He’s doing in ours. He’s a big enough God to be able to do that. We, however, will wear ourselves out if we try comparing ourselves to others. Fortunately, we don’t have to. God has such a great plan for us that we can spend all our energy and focus just on contemplating what awesome things lay in store for us and still be amazed. What joy that will bring us as we meditate on the works God is doing in our own lives and will continue to do. You don’t have to compare yourself to anyone else anymore. God has a unique calling and plan for your life, He’s given you unique gifts and talents for that plan, and He’s working in your life in a unique way as He’s molding you into a one-of-a-kind vessel that will bring Him the ultimate glory and you the ultimate joy. So let’s take our eyes off of others and focus them on our own work as we examine what God is doing in and through us and simply rejoice in that.
I will examine my own life and what God is doing in and through me and then thank Him for the work He’s doing and will continue to do in my life.