Friday, December 21, 2007

JMD Devotional 266 2 Corinthians 10:12 Comparing Myself to Others

There was an evening get together the other day; a little social at someone’s home to discuss our church’s vision and outreach. When I got home from the event, I wondered why that little bit of activity left me feeling so worn out. Something else was going on in the background that was taxing my resources. As I went to bed, God brought this scripture to mind:

2 Corinthians 10:12 (NIV) We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.

Being around other people wears me out because I am unconsciously and continually making comparisons. I get really uncomfortable in these social situations. I am so over-sensitive that I won’t make a good impression; and afraid that I will not measure up to my peers. It is somewhat pathetic that I feel I have to say, do or purport to be something impressive just to be accepted. Why can’t I just relax and be myself? Am I afraid of being exposed as ‘average’? Can I let others lead and give my support without trying to modify what they are doing? Why are men only comfortable from a position of superiority? When I can’t find that exalted spot, I go to plan B (I tend to try to become totally invisible). My perception always tends to see other people as having better status, jobs, homes and cars; rather than rejoicing at their success a pit forms in my stomach. There is sin in comparing myself to others. It is the antithesis of contentment. It betrays a lack of trust in God’s plan for my life. I strive much too hard to be more than I am; to prove myself to other people. This keeps me from really engaging them and from being a part of what they are doing. Such comparisons only bring isolation and misery. It kills teamwork.

2 Corinthians 10:12, 17,18 (NIV) We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends.
[Self-testimonials are nothing but vanity. Proverbs 27:2 (NIV) Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips. Ultimately, the only opinion that matters, and the only one to strive to impress is God.]

Galatians 6:3-6 (NIV) If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load. Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
[We are all debtors, I owe much to my pastors, teachers, family, authors and to the Body of Christ at large. If my nose is too large, I can’t see anybody else!]

Comparisons are futile. God went to a lot of trouble to make each one of us unique, in a specific time, place and status. I need to move my focus off of myself and on to my Maker, Master and Friend. This striving has to go! I am an odd duck; but God made me for a purpose, and I need to patiently abide in a trusting relationship with Him as it is revealed and played out on His schedule.
He is sovereign, I don’t need to be in the driver’s seat. I have to be O.K. with sitting on the bench.

Isaiah 40:25-31 (NIV) "To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength,
not one of them is missing. Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God"? Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Dear God,
I try so hard to portray myself as a man who’s ‘got it all together’; but You intimately know my deficits. I am uncomfortable in my own skin. Please help me to accept myself, my short comings, my status and my circumstances. You know how I want to do great things; but discipline, humility, consistency, trust and patience come first. Help me to be more concerned about Your kingdom, Your will, and the needs of other people than myself. The feelings of inferiority that I bear are a distortion: please correct my self-perception: I am not an accident, You did not make a mistake; there is a plan for my life; I am significant because You deliberately sculpted my soul. It is O.K. to be me. May I find rest in our relationship.

All (but*) quotes are from The Amplified Bible, published by
the Lockman Foundation. (AMP)
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
*New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
**Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group. (Eugene Peterson's easy-to-read, contemporary Scripture translation)

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Blogger Kathy said...

Hi James, Unusual, but I am beginning to find it an everyday occurance for me...when I click on one of my profile likes, I find people who have many more in-commons with me than just the one I clicked upon. I like your devotionals. I have been in that same church you write of many times, only in different towns...and different denominations - Pilgrim Holiness, Wesleyan, Nazarene, Methodist. All well meaning people, but it seems sooner or later the activity and constant need of the church to build up the membership leads to shallow walks with Christ...although I am in no way saying people shouldn't attend church. Anyway, I clicked on sea beans and your name came up. Up here New Jersey I haven't found too many, only in the Chesapeake so far...tried to sprout them, but no luck...anyway, getting a little wordy here. Keep writing. You have a good insight. Kathy

10:28 AM  

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