What Does the Bible Say About Comparison?
We know comparison isn’t godly, yet it’s so difficult to avoid. It seems like it’s gotten more out of control with the rise of social media and our constant exposure to ads and TV. It’s gone far beyond a friendly rival with your neighbor; in fact “keeping up with the Joneses” sounds kind of like an idyllic relic of simpler times. Because comparison has started to creep into every area of our lives. It divides, disillusions, and can destroy.
So what does the Bible say about comparison? How do we prevent it?
Contentment, Not Comparison
The only true antidote to comparison is contentment, which begins with a thankful heart. The comparison trap compels us to turn inward, to focus on ourselves, what we lack, what caused our discontentment. Thankfulness, on the other hand, compels us to turn our attention to others. It’s like a salve over a fragile or damaged heart. When we are thankful, we don’t see what we lack. Instead, we see the generosity and faithfulness of a good Father and are compelled to meet the needs of others.
2 Corinthians 5:14 – For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.
Just like we have to discipline our hands to save and give regularly, we also need to discipline our eyes to look upon what truly matters. The things of eternal value cannot be found on Pinterest, or Instagram, or Facebook.
Remain in the Word
When you face the temptation of the comparison trap, it’s important to have the Word of God hidden in your heart to combat it.
Remember the words of the Apostle Paul, “At one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true.” (Ephesians 5:8-10)
You’re to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
You’re called to remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord….knowing that in the Lord our labor is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)
You’re not to “become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:26)
Instead of checking Instagram, “Delight yourselves in the Lord,” knowing “he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Psalm 37:4)
There have been numerous studies done to show the positive effects serving has on our overall physical and mental health. The best thing you can do to cure yourself or someone else of the comparison trap is to consistently serve others.
There’s a reason serving has such a positive effect on our behavior – because it influences our beliefs. It helps us to take our minds off ourselves and focus on meeting the needs of others.
Look at the words of Jesus in Matthew 20: “…whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
If you’re struggling with comparison, be intentional to spend time serving others. There are needs all around you – start praying about which ones God wants you to meet first.