Am I making progress in my life? We all want to know the answer to that question, don't we? But where do you look in order to determine how you're doing? Do you look to professional athletes, celebrities, successful business people, politicians, parents, siblings, people on House Hunters?
Too often we look to the right and to the left to determine how we're progressing in life. Sometimes we become so good at trying to keep up with someone else, we forget that God's plan isn't that we keep pace with other people. His plan is that we become like His Son, Jesus.
In the Old Testament, God's people were struggling with this exact thing. They were comparing themselves to other people in order to determine if they were making progress. Here's what they said to Samuel, God's prophet, and to God,
"Appoint a king to lead us, just like all the other nations have... We want to be like all the other nations, with a king to go out before us and fight our battles." (1 Samuel 8:5, 20)
They were saying, "Listen God, I see what these other countries have, and frankly I want it. If I could have what they have, then everything would be going well. Then I would have peace, power, and control. I could be the person I've always wanted to be." Now, aren't we exactly the same? Sadly, I know I often am. Most of us have become convinced that our life would make so much more sense if we only had what someone else has.
Here's the danger in that perspective. When we compare ourselves to other people, we are saying to God, "You not only haven't given me what I need, but You can't give me what I need. So I will find what I need without You."
And God in His grace, says to us exactly what He told Samuel and the Israelites,
"Samuel, listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king." (1 Samuel 8:7)
Comparison led the entire Israelite nation away from God and His purposes for their lives. Comparison will do the same thing to you and to me. So what do we do?
Stop looking to the left and to the right to see if you're making progress. It will only lead to envy and disappointment. Start looking up so that God can help you become the person He wants you to be in Christ.
Here's a great way to start looking to God this week. Read Psalm 23 each morning for the next 7 days, and reflect on all the ways that He cares for you.
We'll keep exploring this topic of comparison next week by asking this question: Why do we compare ourselves to other people?
Have a great week!