Do you compare yourself to others- be it physically, spiritually, socially or economically? Measuring ourselves by anyone else is futile. God knows who we are and who He has created us to be. Someone may be doing the very same thing God has assigned you to, but they’ll not have your outcome. God has already determined how we will stack up against the competition. Just focus on what He has said to you.
Jesus was having a conversation with Peter concerning how his, Peter’s, life would end. Knowing the closeness John shared with Jesus, Peter wanted to know what was to become of John. Jesus’ answer is our subject for today. Focusing on others instead of being content with the plans He has for us is distracting. We can’t live our best lives comparing ourselves to others. The ‘how come’ and the ‘why not’ isn’t beneficial for where we’re going. Jeremiah 29:11 says in essence: I know the plans I have for YOU. Not your brother or sister, not your neighbor or friend. YOU. He doesn’t show partiality, but with great specificity He has made designer plans for each of us. When we live in the shadow of someone else, we lose our uniqueness, and we miss opportunities to bring our divine originality to others.
“After breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” “Yes, Master, you know I love You.” Jesus said, “Feed My lambs.” He then asked a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Master, you know I love You.” Jesus said, “Shepherd My sheep.” Then He said it a third time: “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was upset that He asked for the third time, “Do you love Me?” so he answered, “Master, you know everything there is to know. You’ve got to know that I love You.” Jesus said, “Feed My sheep. I’m telling you the very truth now: When you were young you dressed yourself and went wherever you wished, but when you get old you’ll have to stretch out your hands while someone else dresses you and takes you where you don’t want to go.” He said this to hint at the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And then He commanded, “Follow Me.” Turning his head, Peter noticed the disciple Jesus loved following right behind. When Peter noticed him, he asked Jesus, “Master, what’s going to happen to him?” Jesus said, “If I want him to live until I come again, what’s that to you? You—follow me.” John 21:15-22 MSG
It doesn’t matter what’s happening in someone else’s life, you follow Me! That’s what Jesus is saying to those of us who are dissatisfied with our lives and the way things may be going. Focus on following Him. Focus on doing to the best of your ability everything He has asked you to. We are not in competition with each other. We’re team players. Can you imagine how much God would get done if there was only one preacher, evangelist, missionary? He didn’t make clones He made disciples. One mission-differing gifts, personalities and delivery styles. He knows that what He has given me to do will have a different impact where He’s placed me, while what He’s given you to do even though the messaging is the same, will have a different outcome where He’s placed you.
Paul and Peter presented and preached the same gospel, but their delivery wasn’t the same. Paul wasn’t Peter and vice versa, neither were they trying to be. That’s why Paul shut down the comparison game earlier on in his ministry. I’ll close with his assessment of comparing, what it produces and where our focus ought to be.
“But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally infantile? Who do you think Paul is, anyway? Or Apollos, for that matter? Servants, both of us—servants who waited on you as you gradually learned to entrust your lives to our mutual Master. We each carried out our servant assignment. I planted the seed, Apollos watered the plants, but God made you grow. It’s not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process but God, who makes things grow. Planting and watering are menial servant jobs at minimum wages. What makes them worth doing is the God we are serving. You happen to be God’s field in which we are working. Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely. I don’t want to hear any of you bragging about yourself or anyone else. Everything is already yours as a gift—Paul, Apollos, Peter, the world, life, death, the present, the future—all of it is yours, and you are privileged to be in union with Christ, who is in union with God.”
1 Corinthians 3:1-15, 21-23 MSG
Well said! Comparing ourselves to others is Satan’s way of dividing us. Making us take our eyes off what is important. Stay focused and resist the desire to either judge or compare yourself to others. God has qualified you to be you for His glory. I’ll share a quote by Julie Ackerman Link:
Resentment comes from looking at others; contentment comes from looking at God.
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit
December 15, 2021