The Art of Comparison

By Michael Agnew
By Zabdi Piña
By Kristie Davis
By AJ Jerkins
By John Hames
By Makenzie Romero
By Caroline Khameneh
By Victoria Renken
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Dawn Johnson
By DJ Newman
By Mary Weyand
By Rob Nickell
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Nila Odom
By Sherene Joseph Rajadurai
By Kristi Sheffy
By Sharon Arrington
By Sarah Crawford
By Betsy Paul
By Angel Piña
By Elizabeth Piña
By Justus George
By Lori Kuykendall
By Chris Kuykendall
By Matt Holland
By Courtney Grimes
By Jessie Yearwood
By Brian Severski
By Brian Arrington
By Sandhya Curran
By Will Meier
By Clint Calhoun
By Jen Mayes
By Alf Laukoter
By Neil Wiersum
By Jim Henry
By Jenn Wright
By Kevin Harwood
By Nandi Roszhart
By Leah Vanhorn
By Janett Miller
By Isaac Harris
By Charlyn Valencia
By Chad Golden
By Jonathan Cortina
By Kuruvilla (K.O.) Oommen
By John Dyer
By Abe Paul
By Lauren Geppert
By Jennifer Durrett
By Penny Jones
By Jill Asibelua
By Jared Barnett
By Paul Martin
By Norm Headlam
By Kristi Herring
By Sissy Mathew
By Shannon Pugh
By Melanie Mechsner
By Michelle Garza
By Armando Galvan
By Jeremiah Betron
By Camille Holland
By Rod Myers
By Crystal Elwell
By Darcy Peterson
By Jason Elwell
By Amy Aupperlee
By Barry Jones
By Bryan Eck
By Tricia Kinsman
By Nat Pugh
By Sarah Kemper
By Dana Myers
By Craig Pierce
By Jim Woodward
By Andy McQuitty
By Pete Hyndman
By Kevin Dial
By Catherine & Elizabeth Downing
By Gerald Ridgway
By Jill Hoenig
By Sunitha John
By Tarrin Henry
By RozeLee Rugh
By Beverly Hogan
By Kendra Cordero
By Lisa Gajewski
By Bonnie Goree
By Young-Sam Won
By Chris Beach
By Tom Rugh
By Nick Vuicich
By Andy Franks
By Lead Team
By Jason Roszhart
By Harvard Medical School
By Justin K. Hughes, MA, LPC
By Sherene Joseph
By Earl Davidson
By Rebecca Perry
By Joe Padilla
By Christian Melendez
By Bruce Riley
By Isaac Harris
By Amy Leadabrand
By Ben Haile
By Shaun Robinson
By Natalie Franks
By Cathy Barnett
By Ryan Sanders
By Casey Pruet, The Grace Alliance
By Sharon Arrington
By Lauren Chapin
By Betsy Paul
By Alberto Negron
By Kelly Jarrell
By Michelle Mayes
By Jenn Wright
By Jill Jackson
By Terri Moore
By Robyn Wise
By Katherine Holloway
By Richard Ray
By Kurtlery Knight
By Bruce Hebel
By Neil Tomba
By Tony Bridwell
By Grayson McGovern
By Luke Donohoo
By Kathy Whitthorne
By Mike Moore
By Wade Raper
By Mike Gwartney
By Jo Saxton
By Dieula Previlon
By Jonathan Cude
By Ken Lawrence
By Jay Hohfeler
By Barb Haesecke
By Lindsay Casillas
By JoAnn Hummel
By Shawn Small
By Alice McQuitty
By Jonathan Murphy
By Peggy Norton
By Brent McKinney
By Irving Bible Church
By Irving Bible Church
By Ashley Tieperman
By Betsy Nichols
By Trey Grant
By Debbie Lucien
By Sue Edwards
By Suzie Robinson
By Paul Smith
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Comparison is one of those words that immediately draws up this ugly feeling in our guts, right? We have all felt the rush of dissatisfaction with our own stories when we set them down next to someone else’s only to find them doing “better than” or maybe just “better off.” Whether it is a co-worker, a mentor, an influencer on social media, or even a dear friend that appears to be closer to where we want to be, or who we want to be, we have undoubtedly felt envy, pride, covetousness, and self-pity in the wake of Comparison.

It is easy to point at Comparison and blame it for constantly tearing at our contentment. For this reason, we have allowed it to be deemed the great Joy Stealer. We treat Comparison like a thief we can keep out by putting an extra lock on our self-made confidence and declaring that we will simply not compare ourselves to anyone. We set our shoulders and say, “You do you, I’ll do me, and neither of us will feel bad or worry about one of us doing ‘better’ than the other. Surely this will do the job of squashing out that ugly feeling in our guts.”

But here’s the thing, we can’t just stop comparing. In fact, we shouldn’t. Comparison is not the thief of joy as Teddy Roosevelt once claimed. (Yeah, you heard me. That little proverb is not from the Bible. I was surprised too.) Instead, the Art of Comparison is actually part of our God-given nature as humans. However, like so many good gifts from God, it can be twisted by the enemy in an effort to bring out something undesirable in us. We were created with the ability to compare and contrast in order to discover holiness and to understand what we should be like as we pursue lives modeled after Christ. To squash Comparison out of our lives is to hinder our growing understanding of God and of ourselves. Dear friends, we cannot stop comparing, but we can reclaim it as a holy tool for refinement.

What if the next time you witness others excelling in their stories (while maybe you are scraping by in yours), and instead of ignoring it, you honored them? Do not let the moment go unnoticed! Give thanks to God for their obedient heart, diligent work, and example of Christ that you can now follow. What if then you started making more comparisons rather than less, so that you could observe and understand the principles of godliness present in their practices?

Comparison, when positioned in the direction of Holy imitation, is no longer about despairing at all the ways you don’t “measure up” to your neighbor. It is about seeing and celebrating the Christlike characteristics they have applied to their lives and figuring out how to apply them to yours. The Art of Comparison was not given to us so that we might all look identical, but to enable us, amid our differences, to walk together in pursuit of the individual stories God is calling us to live out.

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