A Prayer to Combat Unhealthy Comparison
By Ashley Moore
“We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.” - Hebrews 12:2, NLT
I hadn't been a believer long when my church invited me to take a leadership position. I didn’t come from a long lineage of Christ followers and felt my faith was still in the infant stages. How would I be able to lead and teach others? It has been an honor and a great privilege to sit under the wisdom of our elders and staff, who are such seasoned and wise leaders. They each bring nuanced perspectives, unique giftings, and much-needed insight that has helped me learn to lead well in my area. But I discovered something interesting sitting at this table full of leaders. Unhealthy comparison is the fastest way to discouragement. Regardless of our experience level, no one is immune to the deadly effects of comparison.
What about you? Have you ever found yourself admiring the success of others only to decide you don’t measure up? Or perhaps your inexperience holds you back from pursuing a new role at work? Maybe like me, you’ve allowed your past to disqualify you from present opportunities.
Don’t get me wrong. There is so much we need to learn from each other. Great leaders are formed by learning and observing the strategies of those who have blazed the trail before them. But there is a fine line between learning from others and comparing ourselves to each other.
We will never be able to determine our capability by looking to those to the left and right of us. Comparing ourselves to others will leave us disenchanted, disillusioned, and disappointed. We can't determine our worth by comparing ourselves to others. Our worth isn't found in what we do or how well we do it.
As believers, our worth is determined by one thing—Jesus Christ! And as Paul points out in Hebrews 12:2, he is the one who initiates and perfects our faith. Paul commands us not to fixate on what others are doing but to fix our eyes on Jesus. The one who endured the cross, disregarding the shame of dying a criminal’s death (Hebrews 12:2).
If we compare Jesus' ministry against the world's view of success, most would consider him a failure. Jesus had only twelve disciples, all of which deserted him when he was arrested to be crucified (Matthew 26:56). He was accused of breaking the law by the most esteemed rulers and leaders in his culture. And he died a death reserved for a criminal, naked and exposed, on a wooden cross while people spit on him (Matthew 26:67, 27:35). Nothing about his ministry screamed success. Then he was raised to life and ascended to heaven, leaving behind sick, unhealed, and lost people to be ministered to by his rebellious, misfit group of disciples (Luke 24:51)! Nothing thwarted Christ’s obedience to the Father. He knew His ministry was not a failure despite how it looked when held up against the world’s stipulations for success.
The greatest thing I admire about the leaders I serve alongside at my church is the way they continuously point me and the people they lead back to Jesus. So yes, let’s learn what we can from the great leaders that surround us and the people God places in our lives. But let’s guard against using others as a benchmark of our success. God has uniquely placed a calling on each of our lives; we don't have to compare or compete with others to hear " well done" we only need to be faithful. What looks like a failure when comparing ourselves to others just may be the greatest thing we accomplish for the Kingdom. For that reason, we have to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus!
Thank you for the people in our lives who grow, shape, and sharpen us into your image! Lord, I know you created us to teach one another and learn from each other! Jesus, forgive us when we cross the line by trying to find our worth by sizing ourselves up to others and what the world defines as successful. You alone are the source of our worth. And you loved us so much that while you were dying a gruesome death for us, you considered the joy of being with God and your children forever in heaven to help you endure! Lord, I pray you would give us the wisdom to see when the things you call us to don’t look like a success in this life. Lord, remind us and give us the strength to keep our eyes fixed on you! In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Margo Ovcharenko
Ashley Moore is a writer and host of be the two™podcast. She is known for her relatability and for passionately writing and speaking about mental, emotional, and relational health from a biblical worldview. She has written for Kingdom Edge Magazine, Guideposts, Crosswalk, The Secret Place, enLIVEn, The Bubbling Brook and more. If Ashley isn't writing, you can find her with her husband, three children, and two floppy-eared Goldens on their south Georgia farmland. The best way to connect with Ashley is to grab a free devotional or Bible study and join her newsletter at free.ashleynicolemoore.com.
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