I have two precious grandchildren who fill our lives with so much joy. Ava is five and Tylan is three and they are both different and unique. They know how much we love them and yet they still seem to have this need to compete for our attention. One will say, “Watch me, look what I can do!” The other responds, “Look at me, I can also do it!” It seems to be a human tendency to compete and compare. John chapter 20 is a fairly humorous account of John and Peter trying to outdo each other – who runs fastest, who gets to the tomb first, who does Jesus love more? All these competitive streaks come out in this chapter.
Not all competition is wrong! There are times that competition is good and a comparison with some great achiever can draw out some of our untapped potential. But there are times when comparison and competition is harmful.
We live in a society where people strive for more and better. If our neighbor gets a new car then we start thinking we need one. We get one thing, then we need another and the vicious cycle continues. We need more things! But do we? Does having those material things satisfy? Once we have our new car does it really make us feel good? Do we want more things so we can keep up with our neighbors in the compare and compete race? Ultimate satisfaction will never come from things, but from a deep and personal relationship with God. Our achievements may give momentary joy, but even those will fade with time.
Let us see what the Bible says about comparing and competing? Galatians 6:3-5 says, “Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each should carry their own load.” What does this mean?
1. You are unique: The Bible says in Psalm 139 that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. There is no one quite like you. That should fill you with a sense of your own uniqueness. You have a special place on this planet and a destiny that only you can fulfill. I think that is amazing!
2. You should judge your own heart: Paul said in Galatians, “Each one should test their own actions.” Sometimes we don’t like looking on the inside of our hearts because we are afraid of what we might see. It can be easier to nitpick at other people’s faults. However, we are not meant to judge others we are meant to judge ourselves.
3. You should not compare yourself to another: Paul goes on to say, “…without comparing themselves to someone else.” Comparing ourselves to others is never going to achieve much good. You may feel better than the other person or significantly worse. Neither of those feelings will be good for you - one could make you arrogant and the other could make you feel like a failure.
4. You should be content with your lot in life: Paul ends by saying, “…for each should carry their own load.” I am not called to walk in your shoes and you are not called to walk in mine. God gave me grace for my race, not for some other person's. We need to find contentment with where we are and what we have.
In a world where people are striving to get to the top of the ladder and outstrip others, the Bible encourages us to be happy with our lot. 1Timothy 6: 6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.” I am never going to have the wealth, fame or influence that some people have acquired. I am just an ordinary South African girl from a pretty simple family. But oh, my life has been so rich. I do not aspire to fame or to wealth. You see, I encountered Jesus when I was 13 years old and He turned my world the right way up. My journey with Him has given me more joy and lasting satisfaction than things, money, fame or people ever could. My prayer is that you will have a sense of your uniqueness and that you will be satisfied with who you are and what you have. And above all that God will satisfy you to the utmost! May your day be filled with blessing!
I am and always will be,
Recklessly abandoned, ruthlessly committed and in relentless pursuit of Jesus,