Her body. His job. Their house. His personality. Her popularity. Their income. His strength. Her smile. Their relationship. Whatever it is, someone else has it, but you don’t. Comparing your life to others will steal your joy, but it’s really hard to stop doing it. How can you kill comparison and find contentment?
Last Tuesday at the Porch we talked about comparison – the game that everybody plays, but nobody ever wins. One of the main points was that you have two choices when it comes to comparison: you can either trust God and His sovereignty, or you can play the comparison game and lose, every time.
The truth is, God doesn’t want you to live a discontented life. He wants you to have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). The Bible has a lot to say about fighting comparison and finding contentment. Here are seven ideas on how to do it, including common problem areas that make it hard to be content, and the Bible’s response to them. Identify which problem(s) may best describe where you are, and dig into God’s Word on that topic, asking Him to give you His perspective. And process them with your community as well!
Problem: You think about yourself more than anyone else, and your needs are the most important thing in your world. You don’t feel valuable when you compare yourself to others, so you try to elevate yourself to a position of importance.
Romans 12:3 says to not think of yourself more highly than you ought to, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 talks about the body of Christ (which you’re a part of if you’re a Christ-follower), and points out that every part has a valuable role to play. God has put you in exactly the right place, and you shouldn’t crave someone else’s spot or role.
Galatians 5:26 warns us not to envy each other.
Philippians 2:3 commands believers to do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but instead to be humble and value others above ourselves.
Problem: You feel entitled to what you want, and you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get it, thinking that it will satisfy you long-term.
In Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus tells us that it’s a bad idea to store up earthly treasures, since they will ultimately lose their value. Focus on things that have eternal value instead, since your heart will be where your treasures are.
Proverbs 23:4-5 says to not wear yourself out to get rich, or trust your own cleverness, since wealth disappears when you least expect it.
1 Timothy 6:17-19 commands those who are rich (pretty much all of us in the U.S.) not to be arrogant or to put their hope in being rich. Instead, put your hope in God, who provides everything you need.
Exodus 20:17 , one of the Ten Commandments, warns us not to covet anything that belongs to anyone else.
Problem: You aren’t content because you aren’t finding your joy and contentment in Christ. Instead, you look for contentment somewhere outside of Jesus, comparing what you have to what you don’t have.
In Philippians 4:11-13 , Paul says that the secret to being content in any circumstance, even while being in serious need, is to get your strength and satisfaction from Christ, not stuff. Even Paul had to learn how to do this, and so will you.
Hebrews 13:5 tells you to keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have. Why can you do this? Because God will never leave or forsake you.
2 Corinthians 12:10 says that we can be content even in weakness and hardship, because Christ provides strength in our weakness.
1 Timothy 6:6-8 reminds us that we can’t take anything with us when we die, so we should be content with what we have. And if we have godly contentment, we actually have great gain!
Problem: You don’t express gratitude to God for what He’s given you. Your focus on what you don’t have steals your thankfulness for what you do have.
1 Thessalonians 5:18 tells us that God’s will for us is to give thanks in all circumstances.
Ephesians 5:20 encourages us to always give thanks to God for everything, in the name of Jesus.
Philippians 4:4-7 says to rejoice in the Lord always. And even when making requests to God, we should bring them to Him while thanking Him for what He’s already blessed us with.
Psalm 63:4-5 reminds us that praising God and focusing on Him is deeply satisfying.
Problem: You aren’t asking God to give you what you need, or you’re asking Him with the wrong motives for things you don’t really need.
In Matthew 6:11 Jesus tells us to ask God to give us our daily bread – what we need to live that day.
In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus explains that God delights in giving good gifts to His children when they ask Him. He will provide those gifts like a loving father would, knowing what’s best for us.
Proverbs 30:7-9 gives an example of asking God to provide neither riches nor poverty, but only what’s needed each day. Having too much could make you forget God, and having too little might tempt you to turn your back on Him.
James 4:2-3 says that sometimes we don’t have what we need because we haven’t asked God for it. And sometimes we don’t get what we want because we’re asking Him with the wrong motives.
Problem: You’re filling your mind with things that remind you of what you don’t have, and you’re not spending any time or energy filling your mind with what matters.
Philippians 4:8 tells us to spend our time and energy thinking about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. Don’t use your thoughts to compare yourself to others or to think about what you don’t have.
Colossians 3:2 reminds you to set your mind on eternal things, not on earthly things.
2 Corinthians 10:5 says to take every sinful thought captive and make it obedient to Christ. If you’re struggling to point your thoughts to Christ, ask Him to help you.
Problem: You’ve lost focus on God’s unique calling for your life. Instead, you’ve focused on wanting someone else’s life.
Ephesians 2:10 reminds us that we’ve been created in Christ Jesus do to good works that God has prepared in advance for us to do. God wants us to be faithful to live out our purpose!
1 Timothy 6:18-19 tells us to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. By doing this we’ll store up eternal treasures for ourselves and experience true life.
1 Corinthians 7:17 says that each person should lead the life that God has assigned to them and called them to. He doesn’t want you to compare your life to others; He wants you to be faithful in the life that He’s uniquely called you to.
God wants to help you live a life of joy, freedom, and contentment! Which of these problem areas do you most need Him to work on in you?