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Contemplate More, Compare Less

“Comparison kills contentment and without contentment there can be no joy.” – Pastor Steven Furtick

We live in a culture of constant comparison; social media makes it easy for us to see someone else’s life, their car, their house, their kids, their husband/wife and contrast it with ours. Have you ever been having a wonderful day, then you log onto Facebook or Instagram, see someone else having a grand time, doing some grand thing and then your day gets ruined? I know I have. We obsess over capturing the “perfect” image - of our food, our jobs, our experiences. However, most of the time, the “perfect” situation that we see (as well as project) online is a expertly crafted illusion of the life we want people to think we have - but doesn’t always show what’s underneath the surface. We compare other people’s highlight reels to our own real life, and oftentimes it leaves us feeling disappointed or jealous.

Galatians 6:4-5 in the MSG: It says, “Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” It says “make careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given and sink yourself into that.” Notice it doesn't say, “Make careful exploration of the work your neighbor has been given, compare your work to theirs, get mad if theirs seems better, and try to do what they do.” NO! That’s not what this says. This verse is basically telling us to “Stay in our lane.” How many times have we been running the race of life, look over to someone else’s lane, and wish we were doing what they were doing instead? Wish we were living there instead? Wish we were dating them instead? Wish we were driving that instead? When we do that, what we are basically telling God is that the life he’s planned for us, the task/assignments He’s given us, and the blessings he's poured on us aren't sufficient; we’d rather be doing/having something else. When we compare ourselves to others, we get so busy looking at what we don't have that we miss out on what we do have. Or we get so inflated with pride by what we do have, that we start to draw our joy and contentment from it.

We want to contemplate who God has called us to be and the image of Himself he wants to mold us into; we cannot do that and simultaneously obsess over what we have in comparison to others. If we allow God to be our contentment, we’ll find joy every time. My challenge for you this week is this: contemplate the image of God more and compare less. Think more this week about who God has called you to be rather than the life of your neighbor you wish you were living. It isn't bad to admire or have dreams/aspirations similar to someone else. But it should never be where our joy or happiness comes from. Let’s say you never got whatever it was that you really wanted - that job, the house, the husband/wife. Would just having God be enough for you? Would you be content with God being all you need? When I think about how I would answer that question, in some instances, my honest answer would be no. Maybe yours is too. That doesn't make you a bad person, or a bad Christian. What that tells me is that I have so much more to learn about God, that I have so much more time and experience to grow in Him so that I get to the point that I can confidently say He is all I need or want in every aspect.

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