Letting Go of Spiritual Comparison - Encouragement for Today - April 30, 2024

Proverbs 31 Ministries banner

Shelby WorshamApril 30, 2024

Letting Go of Spiritual Comparison

Lee en español

“Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6 (NIV)

I remember going to the movies with friends as a teenager and sharing a jumbo-sized bucket of popcorn. As the tub passed by, I’d try to scoop up a giant handful. The result was a cascade of kernels slipping through my fingers to the floor. My hand simply couldn’t hold all I tried to grab.

I would love to tell you that today, I no longer try to hold more than I can handle …

Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. And now it’s a little more serious than popcorn.

Ecclesiastes 4:6 says, “Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.”

My own two-handful mentality is born of unhealthy spiritual comparison. My spiritual gifts tend toward the small and simple. Simple words of encouragement. Small acts of service. But this world doesn’t often celebrate small and simple. Sometimes feelings of inadequacy creep in, and I’m tempted to reach for others’ gifts.

She’s so outgoing and connected! I’ll have a handful of that, please.
Her passion for teaching is inspiring! Just a palmful of that too. 
Look at how creative she is. Maybe a pinch of artistry for me? 

I overcommit, toil and chase the wind. I become busy but not effective, and pieces of my life slip through the cracks like popcorn through my fingers.

Oh, friend, God didn’t create us to serve that way.

The Bible never tells us to try to be like everyone else. In fact, God reveals delightful diversity when He speaks of believers as members of the Church body: Each part has something special to contribute to the whole (1 Corinthians 12:14-20). A body of only eyes, for instance, would not be a very effective body! Instead, God calls us to be true to our unique gifts.

Ultimately there is only one person we are to strive to be like, and that is Jesus.

In Philippians 3:12, the Apostle Paul says, “It’s not that I have already reached this goal or have already been perfected, but I pursue it, so that I may grab hold of it because Christ grabbed hold of me for just this purpose” (CEB, emphasis added). With the power of the Holy Spirit, we can hold on to God’s plan and purpose for our lives (Romans 8:29).

If we pursue Jesus, He will grow our gifts as we grow in Him (John 15:1-5). If we keep our eyes on Jesus, He will open our eyes to opportunities to serve — opportunities God has uniquely prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10).

So if you find yourself toiling but not being productive, reaching but still feeling empty, ask yourself who you are reaching for.

Let’s stop reaching to be like others. Reach for Jesus, friend. He will place in your hands just the gifts you need.

Father, thank You for creating each of us with unique gifts and unique purposes. Help us cease our insecure strivings and instead steady our gaze on Jesus. Free us to be the people You made us to be as we pursue Jesus above all else. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Time is running out … Today is the LAST DAY to join COMPEL Writers Training! Friend, stop letting those words in your heart go unwritten or unheard. We believe God has put wisdom inside of you, and we want to help you take your next step as a writer, regardless of where you are starting from. This is your last chance to join and be eligible for a spot in COMPEL Publishing Week, where you can pitch your book idea to a publisher or an agent! Don’t delay; click here to join today!



The writer of today's devotion is a member of COMPEL Writers Training. Receive writing tips on your social media feeds when you follow COMPEL Training on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!


1 Corinthians 12:4-6, “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” (ESV).

Ephesians 4:15-16, “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love” (ESV).

Take a few moments today to thank God for the gifts of others. Look for ways you can encourage those who have gifts different from your own.

What gifts do you feel are uniquely yours — even if you can’t quite see God’s purpose for them yet? When you feel yourself slipping into patterns of spiritual comparison, how can you recenter your gaze on Christ? We’d love to hear your thoughts — share them in the comments!

© 2024 by Shelby Worsham. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
P.O. Box 3189
Matthews, NC 28106

Read More Encouragement for Today