Matt Parker – Unhealthy ComparisonsGuest Posts
I don’t know if you have ever been like me and ever had some of these kinds of thoughts, “I wish I could do that”, “I am not as good as them”, “I wish I was more like them”, “Why am I like this?”, “Why do I not look like that?”…and so the list goes on. Sometimes we can get wrapped up in these thoughts and let this influence us and our lives in often a negative way, I know I have done in the past. Recently I was inspired about this subject that has really helped me and I hope it helps you too! Psalm 139 v 13 – 14a “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is something that we have to realize is true, not just know it’s true but actually believe in ourselves that THIS IS TRUE!
I have had times, as I’m sure you have, where you have been jealous of something someone else has, maybe a PlayStation Xbox, phone, car that you want, and this can often seem harmless at first but like me can then lead us to make ‘Unhealthy Comparisons’ to others in more important areas, like talents and giftings in the Church, being jealous of someone’s physical appearance, being jealous of things at other churches, being jealous of friends in relationships, being jealous of your friends spending time with other friends, again, the list goes on. This list of things and this jealousy can eat away at us and start to destroy us!
A good bit of competitiveness is good but we need to not let jealousy rule at the core of our lives! If we look at the example in the Bible of King Saul in 1 Samuel, we see how his jealousy of David seemed to start him and put him on a path of destruction mentally and probably spiritually. Starting off as a ‘man of honour’ and trust, who was anointed for God by Samuel to rule over Israel as a leader of God’s people, who then was destroyed by his jealousy of how God was using and so obviously with David. Saul could have been pleased for David and enjoyed having God use him and be with him, sharing a close relationship with God too but instead he let the jealousy get to him and in a way totally change him.
This can be a danger with us, we all have different plans that God has for us, one verse I’m sure you may know is, Jeremiah 29 v 11 “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.” We all have a plan for our lives from God and we each have different giftings as well and God has purposely given us different personalities and giftings. If we dwell on what we don’t have then we could end up wasting what God has given us and miss out on that, as well as the people we could of reached missing out. However, if we use those and dwell on those things that God has given us and then we can use them and be used by God in amazing ways! Don’t miss out on how God wants to use you by letting jealousy take over you!
Look at examples of people in the Bible who were nothing in the world’s eyes, but actually in God’s eyes were people who he had given certain gifts to who would go on to let God use them in an amazing way for him! Examples are King David, who was a great man of God but who was just a shepherd. The disciples, who were just fishermen, yet God used them to start the early Church and pass on his word, after being able to spend 3 years with Jesus being taught by him! God can use you in amazing ways too, just like they were! ‘We need to define ourselves as we actually are’; then we will be able to try to live like jealous and live the way we have been called.
No Slipping Back
Now if we want to not slip back into jealous thinking and remain motivated by God then we firstly need to pursue the characteristics of God (Godliness). This is to look at the characteristics of God that it is okay for us to imitate; like love, patience, faithfulness, forgiveness, compassion and consistency. If we seek these, instead of our jealousy then this will help to stop us from slipping back into our jealous ways and will motivate us in the right way. We also need to be thankful and satisfied with what God has given us and not mull about being annoyed about what we don’t have. God has blessed each one of us with gifts and personalities that can be used for him, but in different ways and we need to get to a place of thankfulness and satisfaction of what God has given us to get ourselves away from the trap of jealousy. 1 Timothy 6 v 6 “Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment.”
Competing for God
I have spoken a lot about jealousy and unhealthy comparisons, but let me for a minute just talk about ‘Healthy Comparisons’. Competitiveness in Christians can be a healthy and a very encouragingly positive thing for us as Christians in fellowship with each other. Often we can get in ruts in our walk with God for many different reasons and sometimes it can take seeing someone else who is maybe really on fire for God, or more spiritually mature to make you think about doing something about that rut or encouraging you to get where they are and to go back to striving for more of God. You could pick up tips from them, be encouraged by how God is using them, be encouraged by what God has done for them, be encouraged at their serving God! These can all motivate us in a healthy way if we don’t look at others with jealousy but with adoration and a motivation, therefore making more of a ‘Healthy Comparison’ and hopefully motivating and encouraging us to go for God more!
So lets not get bogged down by jealousy in our walk with God nor let it destroy us, but let us be uplifted by the amazing people that we are that God made unique and allow him to be used by him! Lets turn any jealousy into a motivation and encouragement!
Matt Parker, Lancaster