We have all heard the cliché, "Comparison kills contentment," but quite frankly we don't always live according to it. Opportunities to evaluate ourselves - our appearance, our intelligence, our finances, our home, our motherhood, our godliness, etc - based on our perception of other people happens daily. When we attempt to rank our own success and achievement based on how much better (or worse) we are in comparison to another human being, we quickly find ourselves in pride or in despair.
Galatians 1:10 says, "For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ."
Comparison is a vertical (person to person) evaluation of ourselves, our possessions, or our abilities. Comparison to others can lead to coveting what others have. It's hard to keep our eyes on Christ when our eyes are constantly bouncing from ourselves to others and back to ourselves. The passage in Galatians strictly warns us that seeking approval of man and pleasing man stands in stark opposition to pleasing Christ.
Psalm 37:4 says, "Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart."
Contentment is a horizontal (God and me) joyful and peace-filled submission to where God has me and who he has made me. As the Psalmist says above, when we delight in the Lord, he satisfies our heart with himself. Instead of constantly striving to please others - they are never pleased, by the way - we strive to please God. What pleases God? In short - Christ. Christ pleases God wholly and entirely. That means, since you and I are in Christ, we are fully pleasing to God. As we live life, we continue to please God as we look more and more like our Savior.
Things that Tend to Feed Comparison and Kill Contentment
Here is a quick and non-exhaustive list of a few things - for me - that tend to make me compare myself to others instead of Christ:
- Social Media - #1 hands down.
- Side note: There are actual research studies showing an increase in jealousy after spending time on Facebook.
- My false perception of someone I admire
- No one is as perfect as we make them out to be
- The false laws I put on myself that are not Scripture
- Again for me - babies must eat organic food, be breastfed for this amount of time, etc. These may be good things, but not on par with direct commands of Scripture.
- Images put before me on TV or other media
- You know, the beautiful model with no apparent physical flaw.
- Even the church!
- We as sisters can take our eyes of Christ and start looking at one another for approval and status.
The fact is we are prone to wander, prone to compare, and prone to please man instead of God. Let us instead be women who delight in the Lord and seek to please him alone. In doing so, we can then love, serve, and edify our sister instead of use her as a measurement for our own status in life.