“Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
‘Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem,
a firm foundation and tested stone.
It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on.
Whoever believes need never be shaken.'”
“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”
1 Cor 11:1
I love Teddy Roosevelt’s quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”
How true this is. Very few things can snuff joy so quickly, boldness so efficiently, and paralyze purpose so effectively as comparison. It can stop a person dead in their tracks and cause us to question every thing.
Even when we see it coming, its effects can be so difficult to derail. It plays on our deepest fears and insecurities.
Sometimes it is obvious and sometimes not so easily spotted.
Comparison can be taken two ways.
The first angle of comparison comes when we look at others with the sudden fear that we should do more and be more because we are not enough. We doubt the gentle whisper of the Holy Spirit that we heard in the quiet place. The noise of other voices (including our own heart) shame us into questioning our motives and actions. We back track as confusion sets in and we reconsider EVERYTHING.
This is a lonely place.
Filled with shame and fear at every turn as you feel yourself slip beneath the salty depths of never enough. They call it the Dead Sea for a reason.
Conversely, comparison can take a sneaky form. There are very few of us who have not been damaged in a relationship in a desperately painful and formative way.
We are all humans. With our deep brokenness comes the possibility that we may “break” others. The pain of these wounds runs deep as it takes years to recover from broken relationships. There are lies believed about ourselves, and the necessary relearning of how our ever loving God actually views us and relates to us.
Healthy relationship is a long but worthwhile learning curve.
Due to the damage done, many times we may have a great fear of repeating our own behavior or the behavior of another that we have endured in past relationships. This is the underbelly of comparison. We run headlong, from our experience, straight in the opposite direction.
We are a human race that tends towards the extreme.
We run from what we fear even within ourselves.
When we have experienced hurt by someone, it is a great temptation to mold our behaviors accordingly. Frequently, we shift to the very opposite in order to not repeat that damage in our future relationships. Think any relationship that has gone wrong in your life. These circumstances have the power to shape and form your future relationships and lifestyle from here on out.
You end up measuring yourself against the past. Forming your current behaviors with this ever in your mind.
This is still comparison.
When our actions are rooted in the motivation of comparison, it will always leave us desperate and fearful. Running like we are being chased. There is no peace. The striving will never stop. The rat race will continue on unless you turn and evaluate the thing from which your are escaping from.
Here’s the picture:
You are a powerful thoroughbred. The threat is a moving branch in the corner of your vision. This causes you to rear and run. The threat is not valid. Your feelings and perspective do not accurately depict your circumstances.
As a child of the great and mighty living God, you are powerful. You are capable. You are more. However, you ARE allowing this to shape your path and choices. And this is what the enemy wants!
In both instances of comparison, we are using another human being as a cornerstone in the house of our life story.
Think about if all the rocks we used were formed after a piece of this person or that… Would it even resemble who He would have us to be?
The thing about measuring is that if you use any standard other than the one that is true for every single piece of timber and stone, the building will be off, the structure will be shaky, and it will never stand to live out its intended purpose.
We were only meant to compare ourselves to one.
Jesus is THE cornerstone, and the only measuring standard that brings correction to perfection.
Only He can make us complete and whole.
Comparison to anything or anyone else will never be a place of rest and blessing but always striving and never being enough.
What should we compare ourselves to? Jesus and His magnificently perfect word.
Comparing ourselves to Jesus is like running towards the prize rather than being chased and spooked from behind. You are not out of breath when you get there. He leads you at a safe pace.
His Word has the ability to separate the “joint from the marrow.” “Who can know the hearts of men but God.” It brings truth, vitality, and alignment in which we can have rest and be realigned to our proper state.
We are all learning how to have and be in relationship. Living in a fallen world, we are surrounded by the imperfect. It is no wonder our measurements seem continually out of sorts.
But according to His word, we serve a perfect:
Matt 7:28 – “When Jesus had finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching;”
John 7:16 – So Jesus answered them and said, “My teaching is not mine but His who sent me.”
John 14:26 – “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
John 15:12-15 – “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Ps. 103:13 – As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him
1Timothy 1:15 – It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.
Acts 4:12 – And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”
I Corinthians 8:6 – yet for us there is but one God, the Father, from whom are all things and we exist for Him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we exist through Him.
This comparison is not the sort that brings condemnation and guilt but peace. We feel the alignment and it is right.
When we know the truth, it does not condemn or shame us “but sets us free.” Rom 8:32
I don’t know about you but I do not need any more guilt or shame.
What I truly need is freedom. Freedom to walk boldly and unashamed in obedience to a loving and almighty Savior.
I find freedom when I compare with Him. He sets my feet upon a rock and holds my hand. We find our way together. There is no safer way to live.
Live free. Live in Him.
“In him we move and live and have our being.” Acts 17:28
Only in Him.