“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” (1 Timothy 6:6 NIV)
As the Black Friday, pre-Christmas, and post-Christmas sales taper, let me ask you. Have you done some comparison shopping?
I don’t mean finding the best deal on anything and everything Frozen or on the latest iProduct.
I mean comparing yourself to others.
This fall I attended a women’s leadership conference. In our group of about twenty-five, we each had to name one area in which we struggled with comparison. I couldn’t think of much so I scribbled down something work-related. How God tends to stick me in places where all the results are long term. Few short-term accomplishments or feedback. Difficult to keep going. Blah. Blah. Blah.
In no hurry to share, I waited while the first person stepped forward. She described herself as NOT the sweet girl. NOT the pretty girl and how others had overlooked her and even promoted past her even though she was quite competent. They focused on someone else. Someone pretty. Someone sweet.
Gulp. My heart throbbed from the stab wound. I had been here too. My younger sister is the pretty one. The sweet one. The sensitive one.
I added this to my list.
By the time we finished, my list had doubled, tripled even. Marriage. Children. Body issues. Family relationships. Spirituality. It went on and on.
Our leaders defined comparison as covetousness—the desire for something other than what we have.
Author Oswald Chambers of My Utmost for His Highest fame states that Satan’s original sin was not pride, but covetousness. And he used the same temptation to bait Eve.
Covetousness shows up in the Ten Commandments—and guess where. Number Ten. Why ten? Because a writer often places a point he wants to emphasize—at the end.
The holidays dangle endless opportunities to compare, and as 2015 approaches, we begin to evaluate. So here’s an exercise for you to get the Lord’s take on comparison.
Make sure you have ample time, free from noise and distractions. (I know, but try!)
- Picture your go-to place, your peaceful spot, and get settled there.
- Look down at the labels you’ve placed on yourself or have allowed someone else to place on you. Choose one.
- Picture Jesus standing behind you. You can’t see Him, but you can feel His hands on your shoulders.
- Turn around and listen to what He has to say about that label.
- Write it down and date it.
This was a life-changing moment for me. It can be for you too. His opinion is the only One that matters.
In what areas of life do you struggle with comparison? (Go through the family with this one. God may reveal things that need prayer and further conversation.)
Do you agree with Oswald Chambers that covetousness was the original sin?
Has the enemy baited you with this one?
What are ways you cultivate contentment?
Have you done some comparison shopping? I don’t mean finding the best deal. I mean comparing yourself to others. Click to tweet.
Oswald Chambers states that Satan’s original sin was not pride, but covetousness. And he used the same temptation to bait Eve. Click to tweet.
Jesus’ opinion is the only One that matters. Click to tweet.