“CONQUERING THE CURSE OF COMPARISON” (CONTINUED)

KINDLY READ CONQUERING THE CURSE OF COMPARISON BEFORE OR AFTER READING THIS ARTICLE.

COMPARISON ALMOST KILLED ME

As a young man I often compared myself with other preachers. I tried to figure out everything about them. Like how long did they pray? How much studying did they do? How long did it take them to get where they were? etc. I would then measure my performance against theirs. Every time I did that, I would find myself down and discouraged. Comparing myself with others left me feeling inferior. Which led me to believe that God would never use me with all of my failings. 

It is only by the Grace of God, that I am still here. I would have given up on my call a long time ago, if it had not been for His grace. It was the revelation of God’s unconditional love for me that kept me from throwing in the towel. COMPARISON ALMOST KILLED ME

THE DISCIPLES STRUGGLE WITH COMPARISON

As I grew and had the opportunity to be around more and more christian leaders, I soon discovered that none of them were perfect. Yet God still used them in spite of their imperfections. This encouraged me greatly. As time went on, I continued to study the people that God used, and discovered that even the disciples of Jesus had issues with comparison……. 

Let’s take a look at their struggle for a moment. These men were hand picked by The Lord Himself. So if ever there should have been a group of perfect Christians, the twelve should have been them. However, that was not the case. We clearly see the humanity of the twelve in our reading of the gospels. 

Take Mark 10:37 for example; where we see the brothers, James and John, asking Jesus if one of them could sit at His right hand, and the other on His left. Clearly they were jockeying for position. When the others heard about this they were indignant. The disciples anger toward the brothers leads me to believe that they too were seeking a high position in the kingdom. 

Turning our attention away from the brothers, it seems that Peter and John also had issues of comparison going on. In the gospel of John chapter twenty and twenty one we see a hint of rivalry between the two of them.

Picture the scene with me in chapter twenty. Mary is in shock that the tomb is empty. So She rushes over to Peter and John, hoping that they can give her an explanation. They are equally surprised at the news and both race over to the tomb.

One would think that the whole focus of the story would be on the supernatural resurrection of Jesus. And yet, John takes the opportunity to point out to us that he was  a faster runner than Peter. ??? Now there may be some hidden meaning in it all, but to me, it seems like some good old fashion competition. 

Later on in chapter twenty one, Peter shows that he too has issues with comparison. In verses 15-21, in the midst of a deep and personal conversation with Jesus, Peter takes the time to look over his shoulder and ask Jesus about John’s future. Peter should have given Jesus his undivided attention, but instead, he was distracted. It seems that he wanted to make a comparison between himself and John. 

You see dear friends, even the twelve were not immune to the curse of comparison. 

JESUS’ ANTIDOTE FOR CONQUERING THE CURSE OF COMPARISON

There is no doubt that Jesus was fully aware of the disciples issues with comparison. He lived and walked with them for over three years. Peter and John were of his inner circle, and thus he was privy to all of their shortcomings. Despite all of this he still chose to use them in shaping the course of history. 

In addressing the curse of comparison, Jesus used both a question and an instruction to conquer it. 

THE QUESTION: What is it to you?

In other words, its none of your business. You will give an account for your own life, not your brothers. 

THE INSTRUCTION: You follow me! 

In other words, you are to be preoccupied with following me. Keep your eyes fixed on me, run your own race and don’t get caught up in comparison with others on the road.

 

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