“Whenever they measure themselves by their own standards or compare themselves among themselves, they show how foolish they are.” 2 Corinthians 10:12b
There are many different ways we can compare ourselves with one another but comparisons always leads to failure: feelings of jealousy, inadequacy and even bitterness if they are left unchecked. Comparisons put us in a spiritual ‘check mate’ unable to move in any direction because we can’t see the bigger plan or picture that the Father has for us. We become trapped in our own minds and thoughts. The Bible warns us not to compare ourselves against one another for this very reason.
Comparisons are a trick of the enemy to keep us stuck in the past, stuck in our hurt, stuck in feelings of inadequacy, or basically stuck in a deep rut of despair and bitterness. Through personal comparisons, what we are saying to God in essence is this; “God I don’t like the way I am or the way things are and it’s your fault. You didn’t give me enough or do enough for me like you did for so and so….”
That’s how Joseph’s brothers reacted when he shared a “God” dream with them. They became jealous and bitter against him. They also knew that Joseph had special favor with their father that he didn’t show towards them. He didn’t give any of them a coat of many colors. You see, Joseph was the son of Jacob’s advanced age and he represented the love he had been waiting for a long time-Rachel. If you remember the story, Jacob’s uncle Laban tricked him into marrying Leah first after working for him seven years. This just proves that true love can wait! The Bible says that Jacob loved Rachel so much those seven years seemed only as a few days.
His special love for Joseph was something Jacob’s other sons couldn’t understand. It was too deep and personal. A lot happened between Jacob, Leah and Rachel before Rachel finally conceived Joseph. Joseph’s siblings were too selfish and inexperienced in life to ‘get it’ even if Jacob were to try and explain it to them. This family was clearly dysfunctional but not through one specific thing. It was a conglomeration of many things; some done by Laban, others by Jacob and some of which were beyond any one person’s control. They became the players and recipients of deceit, greed and lies so they developed a ‘victim’ mentality. However, they would learn to overcome their victim mentality and see that God had a plan in all of the mess-not only for them but for an entire nation after everything was said and done. Their plot to kill or put Joseph away didn’t prevail because God was in control even though at first it sure didn’t look that way to Joseph. The Father has a plan for you and me that may not be as ‘grand’ as Joseph’s, but nevertheless it is grand to the Father and significant in His Kingdom. Don’t let jealousy of other’s gifts and portions obscure it!
Look what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 12: 4-7 & 11-14 that beautifully expresses the heart of God in distributing differing gifts to each one of us as HE chooses, yet we are all part of ONE:
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body— whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”
The enemy is a perverted rebel and desires to see us get a twisted sense of satisfaction by tempting us into comparing ourselves with one another. If he gets us to hang on to dissatisfaction about the way God made us, uses us, does things or he gets us to replay past hurts and offenses long enough, he knows we become powerless against the Kingdom of Darkness by not understanding our individual Divine purpose and Design in the present. We become blinded by our own dissatisfaction and in a sense become our own worst enemy.
Satan desires to see us become so discontent with our portion from God or current circumstances that we grow bitter against Him. By doing so, we sabotage our own destiny and purpose in Christ. Satan is called the Accuser of the brethren. Therefore, his sole M.O. is to get us to blame someone or something else for our feelings of inadequacy, consequences, circumstances, or offense. He wants us to blame God first of all: the Creator of all good things for the bad things He had nothing to do with. Then he wants us to blame everyone else by avoiding personal responsibility which always propels us towards inward change. It is the enemy who comes to rob, kill and destroy. I am not negating the fact that there can be serious wrongs done against us. But we can’t stop there or we will die!
As in the case with Joseph, clearly his brothers were in the wrong. However, Joseph refused to harbor bitterness and unforgiveness against those who abused or let him down including the false accusation by Potiphar’s wife, and his co-inmate the Cup-Bearer, who forgot what Joseph did for him after promising Joseph he would. By keeping His trust in God and not man, Joseph’s meekness allowed the Father to work all things for His good and elevate him to a place of honor at the right time.
The Bible tell us in Hebrews 5: 8 that Jesus learned obedience through the things He suffered. What exactly does this mean since Jesus never sinned and never disobeyed? I believe it means that despite the rejection He faced from family and the religious crowd, the misunderstanding men had about His purpose and destiny along with the fact that He became human in form although Majestic in Nature, He trusted the Father’s Will and purpose in all of it. Because of this complete trust He overcome temptation to succumb to “Lordship” in the wilderness when it wasn’t the time for Him to exercise it. The Father was grooming Him for the supreme sacrifice He would make for you and me. Even after this period of testing Jesus asked the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane if it were possible for the Cup to pass. He immediately knew it wasn’t possible and said, “Not my Will, but yours be done.”
What faith! God doesn’t call us to the same type of suffering as Christ. Nevertheless, He calls us to the same path of obedient trust.
If you let go of all those negative emotions God will fill you with His peace amidst all the questions and concerns because He feels you. He was touched with every hurt, pain infirmity and rejection you and I will ever face. But you have to decide to trust His heart or not; to move on or not. We have the choice to believe His promises or not. You see, we can’t move on to what God has for us while holding on to something we wished we had. You can’t go forward and backwards at the same time; it’s an emotional, mental, and spiritual tug of war that the enemy will always win until we let those things go.
We need to constantly compare ourselves against the Word of God and nothing or no one else. His Word is the measuring rod that makes us aim higher while at times baser means may force us to go without for a while (Phillipians 4:11). The amazing thing is that whenever we compare ourselves against the Word of God (as perfect and as high a standard as it is), there’s no condemnation or shame from the Father. He gently convicts us where we miss the mark and if we repent, Holy Spirit enables us to do what we know to do and helps us accomplish what He’s called us to do (our portion). His Word is an eternal lamp to our feet and light to our path that helps us keep moving forward while letting go of what’s in the past: the good, the bad and the ugly!
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 3: 13-14
This article was written by Mary Ann Wray