It kills . . . friendships.
. . . ministry opportunities.
. . . joy.
. . . satisfaction.
. . . our relationship with God.
I was reminded of the deadly role of comparison recently. It didn't seem like it was a big deal. It was just a passing thought. But, a few hours later, I realized that momentary thought was having a deadly impact on my ministry in this situation.
As I sat with a group of people praying together, the thought crossed my mind that the other people in the group seemed to pray more eloquently and with more smoothly flowing words than me. I quickly dismissed the thought as being ridiculous - I mean, why would anyone compare that?
It wasn't until a few hours later that I realized the impact of that passing thought. I didn't pray much in that group after I made that comparison. Even a fleeting comparison of my prayers to others' prayers had killed that time of engaging in prayer ministry in that situation. And, if I'd left it undealt with would have eventually killed any prayer ministry opportunities in the future.
Comparison is an insidious plan from Satan to kill what God wants to do in and through us. In the moment it seems harmless. We think nothing of it. We often miss the impact it has on us until later.
Comparison keeps us held back in fear. We're not good enough. We'll never do it as well as someone else. Comparison leaves us cowering in a corner trying to protect ourselves, rather than living the life God wants us to live.
John 10:10 says, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full." Satan is the thief that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Comparison is one of the tools he uses to do this. It's an effective tool in his arsenal because it can seem harmless in the moment.
Jesus offers us life - an abundant life - if we choose to follow Him. He invites us into a life we couldn't imagine on our own. We have to step out and trust that He is with us in it - that He will never fail or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Even when comparison would kill us, when we're facing our own insecurities about how to do something, we choose to trust God and go with Him.
I fight each day against falling to the comparison game that always leaves me wanting. It kept me from doing what God asked me to do for far too long. Now that I know what comes when I don't give in to comparison, I don't want to do back. But, it's still a choice I make daily and I still have to deal with moments when I give in to the comparison game again.
The difference comes when we choose to go to God with it when we begin to make those comparisons. Instead of giving into the fear, the need to protect ourselves, the death that comes with comparison, we need to seek God's perspective on the matter.
When I realized the comparison I had made was having a negative impact on things, I instead asked God for His perspective on what He was seeing there. I asked Him how He saw me in that setting. As my perspective changed, I realized that it's not eloquent or smoothly flowing words that make prayers effective, it's the heart behind them. And that meant my comparison was worthless and an attempt by Satan to steal, kill, and destroy in my life.
Then I had a choice to make. I could continue to believe the lie that came from the comparison, or I could choose to believe God and see things from His perspective. But, I had to choose. I couldn't be passive about it. I had to make a choice and act from that point.
We all have that choice when we realize we've gotten caught in the comparison trap. We can stay there and allow that comparison to kill. Or, we can ask God for His perspective and change our view on the situation. What will you choose to do?