“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Ephesians 5:1
I’ve been off of the radar for the past several days, and I must say that I have missed you! Although breaks are necessary from time to time, I am so glad to be back with you and so eager to share with you what I’ve been learning! The past several weeks have been spent traveling back and forth to California, and my days have been filled with get-togethers with women from all walks of life…young, old, married, single, divorced, widowed, broken, healed…yet all having a common thread woven throughout. The more time I spend building relationships with women, the more I realize that we are all equally susceptible to the same foe:
The trap of comparison.
In all of my conversations, whether joy or sorrow-filled, I heard a similar longing, a frequent desire. We all want something that we don’t have. A better marriage, children, well-behaved children, financial stability, hope for a better future, ability to forgive and forget the past, and the list goes on and on…We look to others that have what we want, and as we compare our lives to theirs, we find that our joy is slowly depleted. We compare, and we suffer in the trap of comparison. We might even have it really good, but still there is someone somewhere that has more, does more, appears to be more, and instead of looking vertically to Jesus Christ, we look horizontally to others.
Ladies, we have it all wrong. Our standard of holy, righteous living is meant to be found in one place and one place only – in Jesus Christ. We err when we begin to compare our lives, our faith, our prayers, our actions, our failures, our understanding of Scripture or lack thereof to others, and all along we were meant to look to Jesus. He is our standard, not the world. I’ve been studying the book of Ephesians now for quite some time, and I keep coming back to one major theme within: Identity in Christ. The book is filled with numerous identity points of who we are in Christ, and the letter culminates with this one command: Imitate God. When we know “who we are”, it is then that we know “what to do”. If we know that we are children of God and are in Christ, our behavior will reflect that understanding. We are not supposed to look to our neighbor, pastor, friend, Bible study leader, etc. and aim to be like them. No, God set the bar much higher. He wants us to be like Jesus. Comparison is a trap, because it keeps us exactly where the enemy wants us with our eyes focused on anything and everything but Jesus. When we fix our eyes on Christ, we do not fall prey to the trap of comparison.
We live in a day and age when we are literally encouraged to compare ourselves to others. “Don’t be like them” or “I wish you were more like so and so” are all too commonly heard. What if, however, we had it all wrong? What if Jesus Christ is the standard by which all things are measured, the standard by which we all will give an account? If you’re going to compare, compare yourself to Jesus Christ. Be imitators of God, as a child who knows that she is dearly loved by her Father in Heaven.