Combatting ComparisonsSeries: Voices. James Dewhurst January 24, 2021
21 Days of Fasting & Prayer – Start 3rd week, Sunday, January 10th, and ending on Sunday, January 31st, our church will be fasting and praying together. What is a fast? It is the voluntary abstinence from food or drink, for a spiritual purpose. While we never dictate what to fast, we encourage you to fast something costly to grow spiritually!
Reading Plan – Along with our 21 days fast, we have included links on our website (realchurchohio.com) and the Live Notes section of our App, for you to follow. This reading plan is designed to take our church through the entire Bible this year. We feel an urgency like never before to make sure the church is reading God’s Word!
One of the fastest ways to discourage yourself, and lose your motivation, your confidence, your focus, your joy, and your gratitude, is by comparing yourself to others. God has a specific plan for your life, and you will never accomplish that plan by looking at what God is doing in someone else’s. Counting your blessings, instead of counting someone else’s, is one of the most challenging mental exercises on this side of heaven. Why? Because constant comparison is a spiritual battle that leads to envy!
Steven Furtick – “The reason we struggle with insecurity is that we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Someone else said – “A flower doesn’t compare itself to the flower next to it. It just blooms!”
Craig Groeschel – “The fastest way to kill something special is to compare it to something else.”
Theodore Roosevelt – “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
Comparing ourselves to others is one of the most unhealthy mental things we can do!
A big reason comparison doesn’t work is because we only know part of the story:
-We are comparing what we know about us to what we don’t know about them!
-We are comparing our insides to someone else’s outsides!
-We are comparing our beginning to someone else’s ending!
-We are comparing our rough draft to someone else’s final copy!
Some have even said – A comparison is an act of violence against oneself!
By comparing ourselves to others, we either conclude that we are better than them, or inferior to them. Neither are healthy! One leads to pride, and the other to insecurity!
In psychology, it is theorized that people often determine their entire self-worth and personal value based on how they feel they compare with others in their social circle. This is known as social comparison theory! Every day, people make self-evaluations across a variety of different areas, such as attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success, based upon how they compare with those around them. With today’s modern technology presenting an endless number of options, social comparison and mental health are more of an issue than ever before. The more time people spend engaging in social comparison on platforms like Fakebook, engaging in social comparison, the more it leads to unhealthy feelings like depression. A modern term related to social media use is a problem known as “smiling depression” in which an individual appears to be happy, smiling and positive, but in reality is miserable. People today are trying to create an ideal version of themselves on the internet and the pressure to maintain an appearance of happiness and perfection is leading to depression. What people present, and who they are are so far apart, it is sometimes hard to recognize them in person!!!
Studies have shown that about 10% of the average person’s thoughts are comparisons!
This means that our minds are tithing 10% of their time on what others are doing!
The worst part of all is, comparison most of the time, ends up leading us to ENVY!
30 A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot. (ESV)
1 Corinthians 3:3
3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? (ESV)
16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (ESV)
Envy – is a feeling of discontent or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or success. (Envy cannot exist where there is no comparison!)
An ancient Proverb wisely deduced – Envy eats nothing but its own heart!
17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” (ESV)
Comparison turns God’s blessings and provision into complaints and division!
4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. 5 For each will have to bear his own load. (ESV)
2 Corinthians 13:5
5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! (ESV)
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. (ESV)
Until we discover that our identity is in Christ, we will continue to worship others!
Social Comparisons only create regret, guilt, defensiveness, depression, and envy!
A person who is Constantly Comparing is a person with a Defeated Mind!
My mentor used to say – “When you compare and compete, you live in defeat.”
“IF ONLY” are two of the deadliest words in a Christian’s vocabulary!
If only I had as much money as him.
If only I was as smart as her.
If only I looked like them.
If only my kids were as well-behaved as theirs.
If only my family wasn’t crazy.
If only I could speak, work, cook, travel, think, do, be like someone else…THEN I would be happy!
Comparison forces us to see the world through the lens of “better than” or “worse than.”
9 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.” (ESV)
Andy Stanley says – Comparison causes people to have to live in the land of –ER!
I’ll be fine as long as I’m: Thinner, Rich-er, Happi-er, Bett-er, Smart-er, or Pretti-er!
3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (ESV)
Comparison is the sin that forces the need to be superior to feel validated!
I want to close today by giving us 2 biblical tools, to help us Combat Comparison:
1. Start comparing present You to former You!
The only time you should ever look back is to see how far you’ve come!
Paul compared himself to his former self and celebrated in Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
2. Recognize your unique calling in Christ!
Hebrews 12:1-2 “…let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.”
One of Satan’s biggest goals is to get our eyes off of Jesus and onto other people.
The moment we start looking around at how other people are running, we lose our race!
The reason blinders are put on a racehorse is that they know if he looks to the left or the right, he’s going to miss a step!
Proverbs 4:25 “Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.”