Suffering as a Christian: The Comparison Trap
To be completely honest....when comparing my life to those who aren't submitted to Christ... I sometimes do exactly what we aren't supposed to do.....
Comparing and Coveting.
Reference verses: 2 Corinthians 10:12, Romans 7:7-8, and James 4:2-4.
Welp, the Holy Spirit READ ME.
Who am I to doubt God's goodness because my life doesn't look how I want it?
Isn't it interesting how we tell God what we think we deserve based on our comparison of ourselves against our neighbors? "Well, God. It's not fair that I can't afford a simple pair of jeans while Jenny has an excess of shoes, clothes, jewelry? She doesn't even serve you, and her life just seems so fun while I battle depression, lack, anxiety, and stress."
The truth of it is that when we compare ourselves to one another, we are fooling ourselves. But don't take my word for it. Let's see what God says about it in scripture:
Of course we would not dare classify ourselves or compare ourselves with those who rate themselves so highly. How stupid they are! They make up their own standards to measure themselves by, and they judge themselves by their own standards!
Paul tells us that's it's FOOLISH for us to measure ourselves against ourselves. We are called to measure ourselves to God's standard.
Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror.24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.
*written in invisible ink* our self-righteousness amounts to nothing as we are all unworthy of God's grace,
As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one;
But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.
1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are [e]reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. [f]On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a [g]busybody in other people’s matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this [h]matter.
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now
“If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.
But wait, THERE IS HOPE.
We can be sure that even in our suffering, it all works for the sovereign good and for God's glory.
I know the post started off with how we don't have the right to compare ourselves and our lives to others, but this is actually a beautiful precept to abide by.
Comparing our lives and our situations to others will always lead to despair. We should allow our sufferings, heartaches, and trials to draw us nearer to God, as that is the most productive ways to live this life.
PLEASE HEAR ME THOUGH.
I am NOT saying that we should not grieve, or mourn, or be sad ever. I am saying that we should count it all joy, knowing that God does not allow our trials in vain.
If you feel that this walk is a little harder right now...cling tight to these scriptures. May God bless us with His peace, intimacy, and joy! While this walk won't ALWAYS be easy, it WILL always be worth it. Never lose the joy of your salvation! Our peace doesn't come from the world, but from Him who is Peace alone.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
What do you need God to come through with?
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Be encouraged! God is good and has better in store for you. Better than anything this world could offer.
I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Invitation to Salvation
God desires so much more for us than we know. God desires for us to be restored back to His original design for mankind. I’m sure you’ve heard the story before about Adam & Eve and the fall of humanity (see more here.)
God designed us to display His glory. Unfortunately, we chose to follow our own idea of evil and good, and sin was introduced to the world. For a better understanding and in-depth analysis of why we need salvation please visit these resources!
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
1 Corinthians 15:3
For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
The gospel is God’s good news of reconciliation of Him & mankind. God is not looking for robots to aimlessly follow a leader who will smite them for doing the wrong thing. The truth of the gospel is that God loves us and invites us to dwell with Him in eternity. That is life. God’s overall plan is so much more than we could ever understand, but the beauty is that we don’t have to fully comprehend to believe in Him. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17). As a result of human nature, we are all destined to die. The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). So instead of us having to die eternally and suffer the full sentence of death that came about as a result of sin, God took on that punishment for us. Through Jesus Christ, He justified us through His own blood and made life available to all who would choose to believe.
The gospel is so much more than a story about an angry God who wants to control your life and just send you to hell if you don’t do what He wants. I implore you to study the scriptures and God’s creation and redemption story. He will give you the answers you seek. The gospel is God’s plan to restore us into relationship with Him. Sin keeps us from God.
If you believe, or you feel that God is trying to get you to invite Him into your life, the first step is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Believe that He died for the atonement of your sins (1 John 2:2), that He was buried, and resurrected on the third day, defeating sin and death (Revelation 1:18), and that He invites us to partake in this victory too (Romans 6:5-10.)
So What Must I Do To Be Saved?
It is by grace, through faith! (Ephesians 2:8-9).