Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass. – Psalm 37:5
It seems one of the most basic human tendencies is to compare, from our social status to work, relationships, school, tall, short, chubby, car, hair -- the list is endless but the fact is that we compare. We judge ourselves by how others look at us, and how we measure beside this or that person. We compare and it rules us.
This is not turned off when we become believers; we somehow manage to try and ‘Christianize’ it. We compare ourselves to people used by God in the bible, another long list. So we sit here with our bibles open and compare our faith with maybe someone we know, we are crushed when that person lets us down. We then go looking for one of those dead guys and put our history next to theirs. From Samuel, Hosea, Paul, even that guy feed by Ravens, Spurgeon and C.S. Lewis. Is that what God intended our relationship with Him to be? Compared faith?
As believers we have experienced in our walk a Spiritual High or being in the Lord -- can’t think of a better way to say it -- our first Love. Where when we woke up God was the first thing in our mind, His hand was so vivid in our lives, our eyes focused on him, life was so sweet, light. Our bank accounts did not increase, troubles did not go away nor did our jobs get any better but life was put in perspective. We were able to see what really matters as we lived in a state on constant first love.
So what happened? Did we stop loving God? Maybe stared loving Him less? When did things get to heavy?
There is something very special about being a new believer -- you are in that first love with a childlike faith. With time life gets busy, our devotions take up less time and our prayers are only for food and parking spots. When we study the bible we can end up on endless debates, literal interpretation, Calvinism or Arminianism, typos, pre rapture, post rapture, should we eat pork, should pastors be married, women pastors, King James only, can you lose your salvation, can God make a rock so heavy -- etc., etc., etc. Take a look at the number of denominations of all the churches in your city; that is such a reflection of those debates/interpretations.
We even start to use the bible to prove our points, God becomes someone who is here to help us in our goals, also helps us to put others down with verse quoting. We then compare in envy how He has “helped” others and not us! Before we know our first love is only an echo. We turned into the Christians we promised we never would be. Remember when Christ told the church they had fallen from their first love? Remember when He told you and I?
It seems impossible to shake off this tendency we have to compare. I heard a story of a mother who sent a lovely letter to her son. She told him of her constant prayers for him and thanks to the Lord that her son was a man of God. The son’s first thought was, “No, Samuel was a man of God, not me”.
That right there, that exact thought is wrong, as noble/humble as it may sound, it’s wrong. Keep in mind, parents are also the only people impressed when as babies we make our transition from diapers to the mini toilet thing. “Look how cute! Honey! Look what he did!” Years later when we are old and have gray hair, no one is impressed. People are just happy this time we remembered where the bathroom was.
Be it an old saint from the bible or that Christian we know that makes us look good by comparison, we have no idea how much comparing hinders our faith. We may even think it’s a humble thing to compare and not be proud that we think less of our faith than that of an old saint.
We commit without trust, and we trust without commitment. Trusting in God seems to require more patience than actual trust but the fault rests in us. Commit and trust require the same things from each other, they need each other and can’t live apart. Our hearts do not need to look anywhere but to God, we do that by committing and trusting the same way we did during our first love. We need to abandon this habit of looking to other Christians to see where our faith stands, where our man/woman of God measures up. Our eyes need to be only on God, and then our brothers in Christ will become blessings and not people we compare ourselves to.
God is so kind and so gracious, He will make good of what we do, but not as much good as He would if we simply obeyed and followed Him wholeheartedly. Before anything we have to understand how wrong we are to compare our faith to others, Christ looks at us alone, at that moment we only have ourselves to compare to.
When have you compared your faith life to others, and how has that let you down? When have you placed another believer on a pedestal, and what happened when he or she ultimately let you down? How do we move away from the comparison trap?