Let's Talk Comparison: the Silent Gift Killer
“Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” (Philippians 2:3-5, NLT)
Comparison: it’s something I struggled with BIG TIME in the early days of my relationship with Christ and the beginning of my ministry.
“I don’t worship like so-and-so. How could God be calling me to be a worship leader?”
“I don’t have the experience in youth ministry that he has, so I won’t be as useful in reaching them.”
“I’m not as bold as her, so I’ll just stay back and let her tell those people about Jesus. She’ll be better at
These are all things I used to spend my time worrying about when I was a teenager and just learning about serving Jesus. Most specifically, comparison hit me the hardest in my worship. I didn’t think I was as gifted a piano player as the people that came before me on my worship team. I didn’t have confidence in my singing voice because it sounded different from what I was used to hearing in church on Sunday. So instead of boldly stepping into the calling that Jesus had for me, I made excuses as to why I couldn’t.
That is until I stumbled upon a Kari Jobe YouTube sermon that changed my perception forever.
“Comparison is the #1 thing that will hold you back from carrying out what the Lord has called you to do.”
I remember the Holy Spirit eureka moment that washed over me when I heard her say that. Suddenly, I realized that what I was doing was toxic. It was actually stunting my ability to pursue Christ and all He had for me. It was keeping me from stepping into something I knew the Lord wanted me to do in my heart, no matter how unqualified I felt I was. My excuses were not only holding me back from a whole new level with Jesus, but it was also cheating others out of what He wanted to do through me.
And the funny thing is, the more I taught myself to stop comparing myself to others, the more I saw how dangerous it is to entertain comparison. Here’s the truth: Comparison is selfish. It takes the focus off of God’s power and ability to work in your weakness and puts attention on you. It distracts you from leaning on the Lord and trusting that He is going to supply you with what you need to carry out His plan. Comparison is sneaky. It slips in as an unassuming thought and quickly spins out of control, festering into things like jealousy and insecurity.
And because it almost always leads to one of those two things, it is certainly not an attitude that Jesus exhibited or entertained. Here’s the root of it: Comparison is the direct product of being driven by performance-based desires. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself and your abilities to someone else, then you’re distracted by the wrong things. The simple truth is, we are all created to worship and serve the Lord uniquely. Of course, you don’t worship like someone else! Of course, your ministry looks different than your friends and elders. It’s because what the Lord wants you to do is tailor-made to reach someone I can’t reach and show Jesus to someone that might not connect with me.
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 10:12, ESV)
So how do we beat comparison? We fix our eyes on Jesus. We go to Him for satisfaction and surety. Like I said before, comparison is the product of obsessing over what other people might think. Whether you recognize it or not, it’s the product of worrying about whether or not people will be impressed by you. So the best way to cut it off is to realize that you are holding yourself back and fix your eyes back on the One that really matters. And that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a slow process of recognizing where you let comparison in and cutting it off. It’s gradually surrendering your human desire to perform well and trusting in God to work through you, regardless of how gifted you seem.
And even if you think your gift is small and insignificant, you will find that once you start offering it up to glorify His name, He’ll start filling in the gaps and developing your little gifts into something awesome.
In the end, God will be delighted when He sees you freely pursuing the very thing He created you to do, without worry of how or why it’s different from someone else. Once you take your eyes off of what everyone else is doing and start embracing how God made us all different and unique, you’ll start to discover exactly who God created you to be and the purpose He specifically gave to you.
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