Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
By Carmen Miller
Have you ever read a devotional or even a blog post by someone that just so eloquently expressed their passion and love for Christ and wondered, “Why don’t I sound like that?” For so long that was me. I felt inadequate and at times not sure of myself. I thought if I couldn’t speak like them, write like them then my love for Jesus is not important to Him. I thought my love and devotion to Jesus Christ was measured by how I pray, minister to others, and how “good” my blog posts sound.
Then one day He whispered to me, “Carmen, I want to hear YOU. I want to hear your words, you heart.” He wanted me just the way I was. He delighted in me and the way I spoke of Him. No, I may not sound like Joyce Meyer, or Beth Moore, but instead I sound like me, Carmen, His precious daughter. And that’s what Jesus wants from all of us. He wants our whole hearts just the way they are. He doesn’t want it all dressed up and fashioned on the outside, but broken and contrite inside. He wants to see your brokenness bare, raw and natural. Because the more time we spend with God daily the more our love for Him shows through our actions, and our words.
We will just naturally find the most passionate words to describe the incomprehensible love we have for Jesus Christ. Jesus is my everything and there is no other way to put it. He is in the center of everything in my life. I dream of Him and long to be with Him daily—to rest in Him all the days of my life. There’s nothing that I have to do, or any “perfect” words to say to Him that will make Him love me more or less. He loves me for who I am and accepts me for me.
It reminds me of a quote I just recently read (hence the title of this post) by Theodore Roosevelt, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” And, boy is this true. I compared myself and my love for Christ to others and found that it just made me unhappy. It reminded me how the Bible tells us to “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else (Gal. 6:4 NLT).
In Matthew, “the disciples came to Jesus asking, “Who gets the highest rank in God’s kingdom?” For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom (18:1-5 MSG).
When I read that I was shocked. All this time I had beat myself up, because I didn’t think I sounded a certain way and that that must have been because I didn’t love Jesus like she did, or have faith in Jesus like he did. But God isn’t looking for all the pretty, dressed up faith. He wants child-like faith. He wants us simple and elemental. He wants us to come to Him with a primitive faith and in grandeur humility.
“Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion. Because of that obedience, God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, ever, so that all created beings in heaven and on earth—even those long ago dead and buried—will bow in worship before this Jesus Christ, and call out in praise that he is the Master of all, to the glorious honor of God the Father“(Phil. 2:5-11 MSG)
So the next time you find yourself in the middle of the comparison game, remember that just because you aren’t where someone else is it doesn’t mean God doesn’t have a plan for you. We all have a purpose and must be prepared and refined for it. It make take longer for some than others, nevertheless, your purpose is yours only and when your season comes be prepared to stand firm and live out your own calling that Christ has set before you.
Carmen Miller enjoys her life as the Preacher's wife to Jarrad and mommy to 5 rascals. She resides in North Carolina with her family. She loves to connect with her readers on Facebook and you can find her tweeting @carmendmiller.