This winter is one of the best compared to most Chicagoland winters. Blue skies and fluffy white clouds fill our days instead of the usual dreary gray. Snow is minimal and sunshine abundant.
Comparing our current beautiful winter with past crummy winters makes us happy. Yet, sometimes comparing can leave us feeling discontent.
I see it all the time at the gym. A women looks out of the corner of her eye at another woman to see how she measures up.
Unfortunately, I sometimes participate in this harmful game…more often than I’d like to admit.
Why? What’s the point? We either end up feeling better than, equal to or worse than someone. How is this beneficial?
Here’s what Paul wrote about comparison in 2 Corinthians 10 v.12: We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.
Comparison is not wise because we are focusing on others and how they make us feel, instead of focusing on God and how He feels about us. Psalm 139 vv.13-14 reads:
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
God created our inmost being. Just as a carpenter skillfully builds a home or a painter creates a masterpiece, God’s hand was in designing you and I. Isn’t that incredible? God loves you and I so much! He desires us to be beautiful from the inside out.
Think about your closest friends. What do you like about them? Do you like them because they look good or because they possess qualities you admire such as kindness and thoughtfulness? Usually we are drawn to friends because of who they are.
A woman may look like Cinderella, but act like her evil stepmother and visa-versa. People can become more beautiful or more unattractive as we get to know them. The people who inhabit a special place in my heart are kind, thoughtful, loving and some make me laugh so hard I could cry. But what does God value in a person?
God cares more about our hearts (1 Samuel 16 v.7). He could have made Jesus the most beautiful man on the planet, but instead Jesus is described this way in Isaiah 53 .2: He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
I guess looks weren’t God’s top priority for Jesus. Yet, Jesus was loved by those closest to him. Some were so drawn to him that they dropped everything to follow him (Luke 5:11). Jesus was a selfless servant. Matthew 28 v.20 reads: the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.
Next time you or I are tempted to compare ourselves with another person, we can focus on the fact that we’re a designed by God with great care. We can thank God for our good qualities and remember Jesus example. We can celebrate our individuality, flaws and all, and serve others without comparing.
I will, however, continue to enjoy this beautiful, non-typical Chicagoland winter! Knowing that I can roller-blade in March instead of shoveling snow is one comparison that will always make me smile.