During a recent counseling session, I was listening to a couple share some frustration they were feeling towards each other. It was a familiar theme to me and perhaps will be to you. It was the very common, “I do everything and you don’t do anything,” debate. My response, thanks to the Holy Spirit, was we need to stop comparing and start caring.
The next morning I still had this thought circling in my head and I decided to run it past my brother when we went out to breakfast. So I asked him have you ever found yourself, whether on a conscious or unconscious level, comparing things? For example, you’re driving in your car and you happen see another car that peaks your interest and before you realize it you’re thinking about that car in comparison to yours. “Oh yea! he replied, I imagine most people find themselves comparing things … isn’t that human nature?
SO WHY DO WE COMPARE?
Why do we find ourselves operating in this comparing mode in the first place? Some of us compare out of curiosity, others out of desire, and some of us out our greed to have more.
The Book of Genesis is where I believe this issue with comparing, in an ungodly way, started. Let’s explore how comparing first developed with Adam and his wife Eve, in the garden that God had made just for them. It all comes down to making that Godly decision when faced with choices, despite the desire we all have to compare one thing against another.
GENESIS 2:9 The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God clearly made a distinction among these two trees. The Tree Of Life produced life eternal and The Tree of Knowledge of Good And Evil produced death – eternal separation from God. GENESIS 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”
The above verses are God’s commands. He forbid Adam and Eve from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and told them the consequence if they chose to disobey Him. I don’t know about you, but the minute I’m told that I can’t have something I become more attracted to it. Perhaps that’s what happened to Eve.
GENESIS 3:17 Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’ ” “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
Adam and Eve had not known evil up until this time because they had not disobeyed God. In fact they had trusted Him for everything. Eve’s comparing ultimately led her to disobey God.
That’s what unhealthy comparing does. You start to care less for the things of God and more for the things of this world. If Adam and Eve cared more about what God had said concerning the Tree of Knowledge of and Evil, then the Serpent’s questioning the word of God, they would have resist him and he would have fled. James says in Chapter 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
WHAT DOES THE WORD OF GOD SAY ABOUT COMPARING?
Galatians 6:4-5 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
There is a good way to compare and that’s weighing our choices through the word of God … without doubt. God has given His Holy Spirit to those who have accepted His son Jesus as Lord and Savior. The Holy Spirit is a source of comfort and guidance into doing the will of God. When we stop comparing and start caring, the Holy Spirit will empower us to resist those desires that can cause us to compare in unhealthy ways. We’ll be able to fight off those desires that often attach themselves to us when we’re comparing, such as envy, jealously, covetousness, and strife. And, these are the very things that steal our joy.
Being thankful and content with what God has given you is the key to not operating in a comparison mode. The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” Philippians 4:12 This is where I believe The Lord is taking me … learn to be grateful! Gratefulness wards off discontent and is essential to having a caring heart.
THE POWER OF CARING
Mathew 22:34-40 Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
My hope is that for all who read this post, you will find yourself more aware of the comparison trap. In preparing for this week’s post, I have found myself catching myself when I begin comparing. I recognize it and want to shut it down. When I turn my focus to a heart of caring there is no more room for comparing.