We all are tempted to compare our life with others. We do it all the time. Put two toddlers in a room full of toys and watch the fallen human condition take over. Is your sweet child content with her toys, even though she has more than she can play with? Are you kidding? In fact, I have seen my own children have every toy in the room but one, the one the other kid is playing with, and go ballistic to try and get that one.
I wish I could say that we grow out of this when we become adults. In many ways we get worse. Our new house, new car, new clothes, new hair-do, new gadget, or new whatever is good until we see someone else’s. It works the other way, too. We get filled with pride, not because we have something, but because we have more of it than someone else – talent, beauty, intelligence, money, position, prestige, or whatever. The Bible is filled with stories of people we look up to who had this problem. Sarah was jealous of Hagar her servant (Genesis 16). Leah was jealous of Rachel her sister (Genesis 29). King Saul was jealous of the teenager, David (1 Samuel 18). Peter was envious of the way John was going to die (John 21)! Ananias and Sapphira lost their lives because they wanted people to think they gave more money than they actually did (Acts 5).
When we compare, we lose. Comparing your marriage, your children, your ministry, your job, your talent, your stuff, you’re your calling, your position, or your title is a losing proposition. In fact, it is sin. It only leads to jealousy, pride, envy, discouragement, or discontentment. We all have a tendency to think that other people have it a whole lot easier than we do anyway. I have been a pastor long enough to know that I do not want to trade problems with anybody.
So how do you deal with this? The Bible says to be content. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 “Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.” Notice that the focus in these verses is on God. How can I become content? By finding true godliness and focusing on Him. By gaining God’s perspective on things. Romans 12:1-2 tells us that we do this by giving our body, mind, and will to God as a living sacrifice. We need to read the Bible to let God begin to transform the way we think. When we do this, it changes everything.
Romans 12:1-2 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.