It’s been said many times, so it’s not my original thought:
Comparison is the
Thief of Joy.
That’s true because everybody has faults and insecurities (some are just very good at hiding them from view). When I compare myself to others, I’m comparing one imperfect thing to another. I’m mistakenly striving to be someone else without realizing that “someone else” has an many burdens, fears, insecurities, and regrets as me. This comparison robs me of the joy and security I’m supposed to find in life’s noble pursuits, such as my family life, my benevolence, my worship, and my practicing of spiritual disciplines (prayer, study, meditation, fasting).
The only comparison that makes sense is how I live up to the example of my Lord, Jesus Christ. 1 John 2:6, and other scriptures, command me to “walk as He walked.” In 1 Corinthians 4:3, Paul notes that he cared very little if he was “examined” by other people — he only needed to be examined by God. This, of course, doesn’t mean he wholly disregarded other people’s opinions. In fact, he would have given up any number of morally-neutral things in order not to offend others (1 Corinthians 8 & 10). But when it came to being judged by others, ultimately, Paul didn’t find his joy, security, or faith by craving approval or modeling his life after other people. Christ’s life was the onlyu standard!
Now, I’m not saying I look remotely perfect when I compare myself to Christ. Far from it! But at least I know the comparison isn’t to someone as faulty and fragile as me. It is to the embodiment of deity, the very radiance of God’s glory (Hebrews 1)! I know how to live because He showed me the way. He suffered as I do, experienced weakness as I do, prayed as I ought to, and won the victory over sin and death to make it possible, by His grace, to share in the same.
My comparison to Christ leads me not to insecurity and the feeling I’ve come up short, but to Grace, Mercy, and the assurance that I am capable of being the very best “me” that God made me to be. “You are to be perfect as your Heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48) becomes an empowering cry to reach upward instead of reach to the person next to me in the vain hope that I can be as good as him or her.