Let nothing steal your joy
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others… have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…
Philippians 2:3-5 (NIV)
President Theodore Roosevelt is generally credited with the quotation ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. This has resonated with many over the years, and deserves some examination. Comparing ourselves with other people can result in our feeling inadequate, unsuccessful in our life achievements, and even envious of their position and possessions. The reverse can also occur if we conclude that we have achieved more than others, thereby creating a feeling of superiority in ourselves.
There are many examples in the Bible which advise caution when making comparisons: ‘Stop trusting in mere humans, who have but a breath in their nostrils. Why hold them in esteem?’(Isaiah 2:22). Apart from anything else, we are rarely aware of another person’s travel through life, either for the better or worse. Consequently, our comparisons with others could be wildly inaccurate, due to not knowing all the circumstances which have contributed to their current status.
The writer of the book of James has a strong warning for those who become envious after making comparisons with others: ‘For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.’ (James 3:16).
Having these warnings in mind, are there any comparisons which might be beneficial in our Christian journey? How about comparing ourselves with Jesus Christ Himself. We should examine ourselves to see whether we are really growing in grace and truth, and in the knowledge of our Saviour Jesus Christ.
There is no better way of restoring our equilibrium and humility than when we appreciate the perfect example of the life, death, and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour.
Let’s look to our own business, and consider others better than ourselves, rather than drawing pointless comparisons which may indeed become ‘the thief of our joy’.
Dear Father, help us, not to compare ourselves one with another, but to esteem each other better than ourselves, and always to look to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ for our inspiration. Amen
Study by Bob Beggs
About the writer:
Bob Beggs is a Minister in the Lisburn congregation of Grace Communion International, Northern Ireland, where he also serves on the Pastoral Council.
Grace Communion Lisburn
Ballymacbrennan School House
129A Saintfield Road
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