Friday, August 7, 2015

None by Comparison

There is a tendency to compare ourselves with others in today's society. Whether it's done intentionally or not, it's difficult not to do so at times. The world tries to pressure us by putting all kinds of images and stereotypes out there. They try to tell us you have to look a certain way, act a particular way, do this, do that, or whatever else.

As difficult as it may be at times, there is a better way. It's God's way. He doesn't want us to compare ourselves with others.

He made us all unique and special. We all have different spiritual gifts. First of all, we each have a general purpose but we were also created with individual specific purposes. (See 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, 27-30)

In the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus, he talked about being made alive in Christ. He mentioned our individuality and overall purpose.

"For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10, NIV)

Paul wrote another letter to the churches in Galatia and encouraged them to do good. He wanted to make sure that they weren't deceived when helping each other though.

"Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else..." (Galatians 6:4, NIV)

In a letter to the church at Corinth, Paul defends his ministry. He spoke about his letters being “weighty and forceful.” (2 Corinthians 10:10)

He wanted the people to know that he was the same whether through his writing or in person. Also, Paul was not like others.

"We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise." (2 Corinthians 10:12, NIV)

Within the body of Christ, sometimes there is a tendency for us to compare ourselves with others who have similar spiritual gifts, ministries, or the like. However, this part of the Apostle Paul's letter to the church at Corinth serves as a great reminder for us not to do so.

He continues, "We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ." (2 Corinthians 10:13-14, NIV)

We need to remember that we have a certain sphere of service God has specifically assigned to us individually. Therefore, we need to keep our focus on our particular sphere and not anyone else’s area.

And when we do work, we need to do it wholeheartedly as well as do it unto the Lord and not people. (See Colossians 3:23-24)

In addition, the Apostle Paul talks about the sphere of activity within his ministry. It can also be applied to our own sphere of activity in our ministries and work for the Lord.

"Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others. Our hope is that, as your faith continues to grow, our sphere of activity among you will greatly expand in the regions beyond you. For we do not want to boast about work already done in someone else’s territory. (2 Corinthians 10:15-16, NIV)

We do not need to go beyond our assigned territory and limits God has given us. Of course, we can hope that our regions will greatly be expanded as our faith increases just like the Apostle Paul. He goes on to talk about boasting in the Lord.

But, “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” For it is not the one who commends himself who is approved, but the one whom the Lord commends. (2 Corinthians 10:17-18, NIV)

Knowing that it is the Lord who commends us and no one else will help us work much harder for Him and rest much easier in Him. We do not need to compare ourselves, our journeys, our paths, or ministries to anyone else or anything of theirs. There is none by comparison.

We can trust God with our ministries, our purposes, our callings, our assignments, and anything else He has for us. For God who has called each of us is faithful, and He will complete that which He has started in us individually. (See 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 2:12-13)

Copyright 2015 by Dawn Freeman. All rights reserved.