Why Comparison Can Ruin Your Finances…And How to Stop It
Comparison is dangerous – “keeping up with the Joneses” has gone far beyond who has the nicer car or bigger yard. Our society is in an extremely dangerous position when it comes to comparison because of our constant exposure to ads, social media, and TV. Even in Christian circles, we silently compete with one another.
There’s a famous saying that comparison is the thief of joy. I believe this is true. I also believe it is the thief of a lot of your money, and a powerful weapon the enemy uses to distract, divide, and disillusion.
Comparison is a leading cause of worry, stress, anxiety, depression, and debt. Comparison damages marriages, estranges parents from children, and ruins friendships. Comparison is a mighty force that is waging a war for the territory of your heart.
So how do we prevent it? How do we guard our hearts, like Proverbs 4:23 says, when we are so inundated with comparison and competition?
Remain in the Word
The only way to safely guard your heart against the schemes of the enemy is to stay so closely connected to Lord and His Word.
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.”
You’re to “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than ourselves.”
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”
You’re not to “become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”
Instead of checking Instagram, “Delight yourselves in the Lord,” knowing “he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Have a Thankful Heart
I like the analogy given by Paul David Tripp – whatever you put in a bottle is what will come out of the bottle when it’s shaken up. It would be silly to think milk will come out of a bottle you put water into. The same is true of our hearts – if we are putting in thankfulness, selflessness, and discipline, when comparison comes to shake us up, only thankfulness, selflessness, and discipline will come out.
By filling up on the beautiful truths and wisdom of the Lord, you become satisfied in Christ and grateful for all He has done. Living in gratitude brings contentment. And, when we get to that point, we are no longer slaves to the temporary things of this world. We gain an eternal perspective and can say “No” to things that we can’t afford, and “Yes” to saving and giving.
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.
To learn more about what the Bible says about your money, enroll in Crown’s online MoneyLife Personal Finance Study. It’s an in-depth course that walks you through how to live as a steward and embrace God’s plan for every aspect of your finances.