Comparison Trap: 2

‘When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they lack wisdom.’ 2 Corinthians 10:12 AMP

If serving the Lord has become a drag, maybe it’s because you’re comparing yourself to others and trying to be like them. Paul said, ‘Do your own work well… don’t compare yourself.’ (Galatians 6:4 CEV) Paul continually dealt with critics. His response was always the same: avoid comparisons, resist exaggerations and seek only God’s approval. He refused to be distracted by criticism or compare his ministry to that of others. He didn’t engage in debates that went nowhere. Author John Bunyan—the guy who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress—said if his life was fruitless it didn’t matter who praised him and if it was fruitful it didn’t matter who criticised him.

Speaker and writer Anne Peterson adds: ‘Kill the dragons of comparison… When I see something that ruffles my feathers I pray for that person. It’s easier when I’m honest with God—He knows how I feel anyway. Then I begin to praise Him.’

Why would we want to hold ourselves up against earthly imitations, when we have the amazing opportunity to have a relationship with Jesus personally? He is the only One we can fix our eyes on in a healthy way when it comes to learning how to live in the best way possible. We know that we’ll never be able to be exactly like Him through our own deeds—even though He’s promised we’ll do even greater things than He did. So fling comparison out the window. It becomes more about striving to grow in His love, which is exactly the point. So let’s drop the comparisons and focus on what He’s doing in our lives today.

SoulFood: Job 18–20, Luke 18:1–17, Ps 116:1–11, Pro 8:8–9

word4today an adaptation of The Word For Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright © 2019

Today’s Readings

Job 18–20 ()

()

18:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

  “How long will you hunt for words?
    Consider, and then we will speak.
  Why are we counted as cattle?
    Why are we stupid in your sight?
  You who tear yourself in your anger,
    shall the earth be forsaken for you,
    or the rock be removed out of its place?
  “Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
    and the flame of his fire does not shine.
  The light is dark in his tent,
    and his lamp above him is put out.
  His strong steps are shortened,
    and his own schemes throw him down.
  For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
    and he walks on its mesh.
  A trap seizes him by the heel;
    a snare lays hold of him.
10   A rope is hidden for him in the ground,
    a trap for him in the path.
11   Terrors frighten him on every side,
    and chase him at his heels.
12   His strength is famished,
    and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
13   It consumes the parts of his skin;
    the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
14   He is torn from the tent in which he trusted
    and is brought to the king of terrors.
15   In his tent dwells that which is none of his;
    sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
16   His roots dry up beneath,
    and his branches wither above.
17   His memory perishes from the earth,
    and he has no name in the street.
18   He is thrust from light into darkness,
    and driven out of the world.
19   He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
    and no survivor where he used to live.
20   They of the west are appalled at his day,
    and horror seizes them of the east.
21   Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
    such is the place of him who knows not God.”

19:1 Then Job answered and said:

  “How long will you torment me
    and break me in pieces with words?
  These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
    are you not ashamed to wrong me?
  And even if it be true that I have erred,
    my error remains with myself.
  If indeed you magnify yourselves against me
    and make my disgrace an argument against me,
  know then that God has put me in the wrong
    and closed his net about me.
  Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
    I call for help, but there is no justice.
  He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass,
    and he has set darkness upon my paths.
  He has stripped from me my glory
    and taken the crown from my head.
10   He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone,
    and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.
11   He has kindled his wrath against me
    and counts me as his adversary.
12   His troops come on together;
    they have cast up their siege ramp against me
    and encamp around my tent.
13   “He has put my brothers far from me,
    and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.
14   My relatives have failed me,
    my close friends have forgotten me.
15   The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger;
    I have become a foreigner in their eyes.
16   I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer;
    I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy.
17   My breath is strange to my wife,
    and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.
18   Even young children despise me;
    when I rise they talk against me.
19   All my intimate friends abhor me,
    and those whom I loved have turned against me.
20   My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh,
    and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21   Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends,
    for the hand of God has touched me!
22   Why do you, like God, pursue me?
    Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?
23   “Oh that my words were written!
    Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24   Oh that with an iron pen and lead
    they were engraved in the rock forever!
25   For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26   And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27   whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!
28   If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’
    and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him,’
29   be afraid of the sword,
    for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
    that you may know there is a judgment.”

20:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

  “Therefore my thoughts answer me,
    because of my haste within me.
  I hear censure that insults me,
    and out of my understanding a spirit answers me.
  Do you not know this from of old,
    since man was placed on earth,
  that the exulting of the wicked is short,
    and the joy of the godless but for a moment?
  Though his height mount up to the heavens,
    and his head reach to the clouds,
  he will perish forever like his own dung;
    those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’
  He will fly away like a dream and not be found;
    he will be chased away like a vision of the night.
  The eye that saw him will see him no more,
    nor will his place any more behold him.
10   His children will seek the favor of the poor,
    and his hands will give back his wealth.
11   His bones are full of his youthful vigor,
    but it will lie down with him in the dust.
12   “Though evil is sweet in his mouth,
    though he hides it under his tongue,
13   though he is loath to let it go
    and holds it in his mouth,
14   yet his food is turned in his stomach;
    it is the venom of cobras within him.
15   He swallows down riches and vomits them up again;
    God casts them out of his belly.
16   He will suck the poison of cobras;
    the tongue of a viper will kill him.
17   He will not look upon the rivers,
    the streams flowing with honey and curds.
18   He will give back the fruit of his toil
    and will not swallow it down;
  from the profit of his trading
    he will get no enjoyment.
19   For he has crushed and abandoned the poor;
    he has seized a house that he did not build.
20   “Because he knew no contentment in his belly,
    he will not let anything in which he delights escape him.
21   There was nothing left after he had eaten;
    therefore his prosperity will not endure.
22   In the fullness of his sufficiency he will be in distress;
    the hand of everyone in misery will come against him.
23   To fill his belly to the full,
    God will send his burning anger against him
    and rain it upon him into his body.
24   He will flee from an iron weapon;
    a bronze arrow will strike him through.
25   It is drawn forth and comes out of his body;
    the glittering point comes out of his gallbladder;
    terrors come upon him.
26   Utter darkness is laid up for his treasures;
    a fire not fanned will devour him;
    what is left in his tent will be consumed.
27   The heavens will reveal his iniquity,
    and the earth will rise up against him.
28   The possessions of his house will be carried away,
    dragged off in the day of God's wrath.
29   This is the wicked man's portion from God,
    the heritage decreed for him by God.”

Luke 18:1–17 ()

()

18:1 And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’” And the Lord said, “Hear what the unrighteous judge says. And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: 10 “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

15 Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Psalm 116:1–11 ()

()

116:1   I love the LORD, because he has heard
    my voice and my pleas for mercy.
  Because he inclined his ear to me,
    therefore I will call on him as long as I live.
  The snares of death encompassed me;
    the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me;
    I suffered distress and anguish.
  Then I called on the name of the LORD:
    “O LORD, I pray, deliver my soul!”
  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous;
    our God is merciful.
  The LORD preserves the simple;
    when I was brought low, he saved me.
  Return, O my soul, to your rest;
    for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you.
  For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling;
  I will walk before the LORD
    in the land of the living.
10   I believed, even when I spoke:
    “I am greatly afflicted”;
11   I said in my alarm,
    “All mankind are liars.”

Proverbs 8:8–9 ()

()

  All the words of my mouth are righteous;
    there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.
  They are all straight to him who understands,
    and right to those who find knowledge.

Sat 16 March, 2019


CALENDAR
Select a specific day

Post Date

March 2019
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Recent Articles

Be the Change

LICY BE Licy Be released her new single Be the Change on Suicide Prevention Day last year. Inspired by her own struggle, it’s a powerful message about the importance of reaching out to people who are in pain. She told Alex about the people who reached out to her, and the miraculous ways God changed…

How the Machine Gun Preacher got His Name

Most people would say God and guns don’t go well together. That’s certainly how Sam Childers felt. When a newspaper headline first called him the Machine Gun Preacher, he started to cry. Sam has never been what you’d expect from a missionary. A former biker, he struggled with addiction for many years. But soon after…

Why is There Suffering?

It’s one of the most common questions non-Christians ask us. People often say that suffering is the reason why they don’t believe in God. The argument goes ‘if God’s so great, why does he let bad things happen to good people’? Even Christians sometimes struggle to understand the answer to this. So Alex recently asked…

Every Little Thing

When Hillsong Young & Free started making music in Sydney back in 2012, Melodie Wagner had no idea their music would take them all over the world. She’s been with the group since the start, and the last six years have flown by for her. ‘The beginning stages were so raw and fun,’ she told…

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.