It is easy to say we shouldn’t compare ourselves with others, but how easy is it to do?
Is it unrealistic to expect me NOT to feel a twinge of envy whenever I see that woman who always look so well put together when I’m desperately rotating clothes from the last five years?
When I see others jumping over me at work in leaps and bounds while I am still marking time in the same spot, how do I not feel defeated?
When I see my sister in Christ sitting in church with her husband and family while my yearning for the same goes unfulfilled year after year, how do I not lose hope?
Well, God says it is possible. But there are two things I must acknowledge first.
1. All good gifts come from God. James 1:17 NIV says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father…”
But He gives them to His children in His own time. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways…” reads Isaiah 55:8.
In this world of instant gratification, we want what we want when we want. But we must wait patiently on God. Psalm 37:7
We can also be assured that whatever God has planned for each of us, individually, cannot be thwarted by mankind. God reminds us in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you.” In other words, the progress of others has no bearing on yours.
Your timeline is yours and yours alone.
2. While we struggle with temptation daily, being human is no excuse for giving in to it. In Hebrews 4:15 we are reminded that Jesus was, “tempted in every way as we are, yet he did not sin.”
When we look at Jesus’s experience in the wilderness, who could imagine that after being without food or water for so long that anyone would be able to withstand the enemy’s tauntings.
Yet Jesus was victorious; for two reasons.
First, He turned to God and His Word. The phrase “It is written” was His first line of defense.
Jesus did not try to defeat the enemy in His own strength. He knew that He would have been defeated.
1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that, “God is faithful…when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” Many of us believe however that we can do it on our own and when we fail to use our God-given escape hatch, we experience failure; sometimes to dire consequences.
Secondly, Jesus didn’t say, “I’m human and I’m sinful by nature, so I just give up!”
No. The previous text also assures us that God will not “let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.”
That means that with His help we are capable of rising above the temptation.
We have a choice; we can choose to hold on to our sinful rags or we can hold on to God’s robe of righteousness.
Lest we forget, covetousness or envy is sin. And the consequence of giving into sin, in whatever form, is never good.
Ask yourself…what benefit does being envious bring?
None. Only negatives – misery, anger, depression, stress, possibly debt and ultimately pain.
Solomon reminds us in Ecclesiastes 4:4 NLT that people, “motivated to success because they envy their neighbours…is meaningless–like chasing wind.”
So let’s chase after Jesus instead. He is the only one worth comparing ourselves to. We can strive to, “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:18 NIV Doing so will allow us to withstand any temptations that may come our way.
Dear Heavenly Father, help us to trust You and to trust in Your timing. Help us to keep our eyes fixed only on You and not on others knowing that every good and perfect gift comes only from you. Amen.