“I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me, makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Opens prison doors, sets the captive free. I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me. Spring up oh well. Within my soul. And make me whole. Spring up Oh well, and give to me that life abundantly!”
I feel the lyrics of this song coursing through my veins with the throb of my every heartbeat today. I know that those words describe the essence of the Jesus that I serve and the one to which I gave my heart. He came so that we may have life and have it abundantly. He came to set the captive free. To love us right where we are while still giving the push we need. Continuing to call us to greater trust, greater intimacy, and greater faith in Him.
This life is already within in us as we abide in Him. He has given us the Holy Spirit as a well spring of hope, encouragement, and guidance for our every moment. Especially for such times when we need the divine to touch our reality so that we can see eternity within the scope of our earthly walk. He is here and He is with us.
Yet isn’t it just like the enemy to trick us into giving away what is rightfully ours? Into thinking we don’t have what is already firmly within our grasp? To whisper we are not enough.
Do a little more.
Work a little harder.
Doubt your calling.
Be like…..somebody else.
Before you know it, that river that bubbles with hope and boldness trickles a little slower as we move our eyes from Him onto something that causes our doubts. You find your freedom removed and your heart heavy as you float out onto the Dead Sea of comparison.
There is no life beneath those salty depths.
This is the place where we entertain the thoughts of..
I’m not a good enough:
And so many other things!
Sometimes we may feel conviction in these areas which is a healthy and positive thing. Conviction brings truth and godly life change. Comparison on the other hand brings fear, insecurity and doubt. Which do you have?
Comparison is the place where callings are cast aside as we doubt ours and begin the pursuit of another’s. Or at least the pursuing of what somebody else’s life might look like. In big or small ways.
Or we may do nothing at all! Once the fruits of comparison have sunk their teeth within us, it is so very easy to avoid and become paralyzed in fear and overwhelm. Let me tell you right now.
We need YOU in YOUR place, NOT somebody else’s.
You are just the one needed for the job you face.
I find myself most vulnerable to comparison when the struggle in my own work is at its highest. I’m feeling unsure, unsatisfied, unsuccessful…..underqualified. The temptation is to look to man instead of Jesus. Here is where the rubber meets the road.
Instead of looking to a person, this is where roots grow deep as we ask of Him and look unto Him for the acceptance we crave.
Because truly, this is what we were created for in the first place.
We have a God sized hole in our heart that we try to fill with the love and acceptance of others.
We need him to make us whole and tell us who we were created to be. When we come to him and ask “create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me?”
“What must I do?”
“Where should my feet tread?”
“What should I do in this area of my life?”
Then watch as he sets you on a high place. Out of the wind and rain of doubts, comparison, fear, and insecurity.
This is a safe place. Where all doubts fade.
He will lead you on.
Look to him.
Let me clarify here. There is a difference between comparing yourself to people and learning from them. Sharpening in relationships and mentoring from the wise are oh so positive things. But that is not comparison. Where these endeavors edify and build your character and move you along in your calling, or protect you from misstep, comparison does the exact opposite.
Comparison is the place where callings die.
Where once you might have felt the leading of the Holy spirit and confidence in the task set before you, your boldness and passion are replaced with fear and doubt. The inevitable result is paralysis and impotence.
Comparison is the devil’s playground.
The goal of satan, if he cannot make you fall, is at the very least to distract you and make you hesitate.
I’ve heard it said like this. Our spiritual walk is as if we are walking down a street with tall buildings on each side. We must keep our eyes on our destination for hanging out of windows and waving from doors are all kinds of people, voices, flags, enticements and attractions. These may not make us turn completely around towards the wrong direction but we may stop and gawk for a while. Even engage in conversation. In the meantime, opportunities are missed and our post is abandoned. At the very least, we are not acting in the capability that He has called us to.
Comparison is one such enticement that will shift our gaze and slow our gait. Don’t given in. Stop the wildfire of cancerous thoughts before they start.
“Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you. Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Do not turn to the right or the left; keep your foot from evil. “Proverbs 4:25-27
When we shift our gaze, distraction, doubts, and missteps WILL inevitably happen.
There is nothing more beautiful than to witness a person living out their faith in boldness and complete reliance on God. Knowing who they are in Him. Humbly AND confidently walking in liberty and purpose.
It is ASTOUNDING!
There is also nothing more devastating than to see amazing capability and God given purpose wasted for the sake of distraction, discouragement and sideline enticement.
Don’t give in to the enticement of comparison.
The last time I checked, a fierce warrior wasn’t comparing armor and technique when they were on the front lines. They are busy! Fighting in their own style and using their moves that they have crafted and honed with the training of their superior. Fighting uniquely, viciously and powerfully. But fighting unified and as a team.
We need each other for the skill and gifting that we all bring. When we trade in ours for another’s, we are reducing our light and burying what should be placed on a lampstand for the glory of His name. There is a reason it is there! Use it!
I need what you’ve got and you need mine!
In Matthew chapter 25, we read the parable Jesus told about the servant who buried the money the master had entrusted to him. The talents in this parable represent the gospel and the means we are gifted with to share it. In this story, the servant was afraid to use what he had been given and in the end showed himself to ultimately be a poor steward of his masters goods.
When we do not use the “talents” God has given us, it is as if we are saying we were not created correctly.
Whoa. Stop. Lets rephrase that.
When we are not using what we have because we think our talent is not valuable, we are believing a lie!
That is simply false. Who is the author of lies?? Satan himself. He would wish you to stay on the sidelines your whole life while watching the game that you should be in.
God is the author of truth not confusion.
When you feel what you have is not needed. Make no mistake.
He has created you and I for a specific purpose. He does not make mistakes. When we are spending that time with Him and in the fellowship of believers, in His word, and leaning in to hear His voice, He will speak. Be sure to listen. Do not doubt.
What is he saying to you now?
What is he calling you to now?
“Let faith rise up. Oh heart, believe. Let faith rise up and believe.” (Lauren Daigle, “Peace Be Still”)