The Comparison Game | Day One
By: Megan Gover | To download the first week of this series, click here.
My heart is aching. And it’s not due to a greasy taco or medical problem.
My heart is burdened by the fact our generation is absorbed with comparisons. I can personally attest to their bothersome nature. For years, my life mimicked a sad competition of one-upping others.
I always tried to earn the title of:
The Most Beautiful.
The Most Talented.
The Most Academic.
The Most Wealthy.
The Most Spiritual.
The Most Loveable.
Yet, time and time again, I turned up empty-handed and broken-hearted.
Noting whose grass was greener only served me the pain of failing in comparison, the frustration of feeling second-rate and the incessant jealousy of wanting to be like others.
I was a contestant of The Comparison Game. And I was stuck in it for one too many rounds.
The Comparison Game is a mind-set many of us daily encounter. Whether we compare our beauty, talents, spiritual lives, friendships, families, relationships or material possessions, we become stuck in a rut of hopelessness by not measuring up.
Sounds familiar, right?
If we aren’t careful, we can spend days, months, and even years stuck in the bitter cycle of measuring ourselves against others. I don’t want you to stay trapped. Neither does Jesus.
God gave me a wakeup call to stop comparing myself.
He’s calling you to wake up too. Don’t hit the snooze button. Don’t wait another minute. Choose to stop comparing yourself and reap the benefit of dwelling in His out-of-this-world joy and freedom.
Over the next few weeks, we are going to uncover specific areas of our life we easily compare. This week specifically, we will address the joy we often forfeit for constricting emotions, our bondage to measuring up, and our opponent in this game. However, before we can understand how comparisons threaten our joy, we must understand the purpose and power of joy.
Look up the dictionary definition of joy here. How does the world describe joy?
As a believer in Jesus Christ, is there a difference between happiness and joy? If so, how would you define both of them?
Read Psalm 16:11. What is the source of David’s joy in the midst of seeking refuge for His life?
Joy can be found in the midst of tragedy, because as believers, the Lord and His presence are the center of our deepest joy.
Here’s another example of joy exhibited in hard circumstances. For a little context, Paul and Silas were arrested in Philippi due to denouncing a spirit within a girl who could predict the future. Her owners were mad because she no longer could earn them money. Therefore, they turned them in to be tossed into jail.
Now read Acts 16:22-34. Specifically, how were Paul and Silas still praising the Lord in the midst of being beaten and flogged? (Vs. 25)
How did their example affect the jailer? (Vs. 31-34)
Have you seen someone who went through an incredibly hard circumstance, yet navigated it with great joy? How did their example impact you?
In the midst of not making the volleyball team, being wounded by a friend, or losing a loved one, joy can still be found, for Christ dwells in both the good and hard times of our life! In fact, we can even find Paul reiterating this truth while writing the book of Philippians chained up, once again in jail for defending the Gospel.
Read Philippians 4:4. What are we called to do? And when are we called to do it?
Paul could have easily allowed His circumstances to trump the truth of His calling and identity. Though the world’s version of joy revolves around situations and emotions, our joy rests in Christ and His truth—for neither ever change!
As a believer, here are some of the truths we can daily rejoice in. Match each verse to the different types of joy it brings:
___ Christ died on the Cross for us!
___ Our sins are wiped clean!
___ A loving God created us!
___ The Lord gives good things and
does not change!
A) Isaiah 1:18
B) Psalm 139
D) James 1:17-18
E) Philippians 2:5-11
These Scriptures are like a kiddie pool of the oceans of His joy. We barely skimmed the surface of His character! Take a moment to thank Him for His goodness.
To wrap up, you’re probably wondering: how do comparisons and joy threaten each other? The danger of comparisons upon our joy is their ability to shift our attention off of the truth of our identity. Our joy is jaded by the pride or insecurity of not measuring up. Our identity shifts from Christ to circumstances. Therefore, we kill the joy of recognizing the truth of who we are.
But, on the other hand, when we choose consistently to rejoice in the Lord, joy automatically stops comparisons dead in their tracks. The joy of the Gospel was contagious in Paul and Silas’ life. Ultimately, it rubbed off on the jailer!
In the same way, when we realize the goodness and kindness of Christ, we can’t help but let His joy be the center of our thoughts, actions, and heart. May the same must be true of us!
End today by thanking Jesus for the truth of your identity! Rejoice over His reliable and faithful character, and thank Him for the Gospel—the Good News of Him rescuing from sin.