Friday, July 08, 2011
Today’s Topic: Comparisons
Today’s Text: Isaiah 46:5 “To whom will you compare me or count me equal? To whom will you liken me that we may be compared?”
I have absolutely no idea who Shelia Butler is, but she went public with advice to a friend on Twitter recently. Her friend was obviously dating someone that Shelia did not approve of. She told her friend, Really? Lauren? Not even in the same class as Jacob. He should’ve been gone.
This simple exchange between two friends illustrates a problem that exists in our hearts. We have been suckered into a game that we should not be playing. We are like unsuspecting tourists at a county fair who are approached by a barker who wants us to play his carnival game. He stands in the main flow of pedestrian traffic and shouts out to us that we are guaranteed winners if we will just try it once. In our innocence and naiveté we agree, and before long our pockets are empty and our self-esteem is destroyed. We walk away believing we are losers.
Such is the game of comparisons we play every day. In our innocence as children we were convinced by someone that the best way to discover our true worth was to compare ourselves to others. Perhaps we learned it by experience as others did it to us. So began a life of criticism, put downs, insults, and sarcasm designed to somehow make us feel good about who we are. In our hearts we know it doesn’t work, and in most cases makes us feel worse rather than better about who we are, but we are stuck in the bondage of the behavior. How can we be set free?
It starts with our belief in God. That’s not just a simply Sunday School answer. It’s the eternal truth of the matter. If we have established equals to God in our lives then we will never be free from the comparison chains in our mind. If we believe that there is anyone or anything that is even in the same class as God so that they or it are worthy of any attempted comparison, we will never be free from the bondage in our brains. Our freedom begins with a proper perspective of Almighty God.
Because we are finite, and therefore think from a finite perspective, it is hard for us to imagine anyone so far above everyone else that they are in a totally separate class. From childhood we have been taught that no matter how good we think we are or actually are at anything, someday we will meet someone better. That fact either drives us to excel or holds us back. Either way, our motivation for action or inactivity is the same – comparison.
If we could catch a glimpse of the infinite, we would see that God is beyond comparison. He has no equal. He is in a class all by Himself. He is the one and only standard of perfection. He has the right, and is the only one who has the right, to declare His own worth, because He is the only one who is unbiased and truthful about His status. Here is what He says about Himself in just a few verses of Isaiah 46 –
- I am God, and there is no other
- I am God, and there is none like me
- I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come
- I say: My purpose will stand
- I will do all that I please
- What I have said, that will I bring about
- What I have planned, that will I do
After you have allowed those truths to sink in, you may still be asking how that solves the comparison game. Here’s how: The God who is incomparable has lavished His love on us and declared us to be His children (1 John 3:1). We have no need to compare ourselves to anyone to determine our worth because our worth has been eternally established and declared by the One who has no comparison. We have become the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:21). We are joint heirs with Jesus with all things eternal (Romans 8:17). We have been granted a seat with Christ in heaven (Ephesians 2:6). God declares us to be incomparable.
With all of that affirmation from God and His declaration of our worth, we are free from the bondage of comparisons. Now, instead of spending all of our time trying to earn the approval of people, we can grant them the approval that God wants them to know because we are living in it.