Dear HTC Family
Recently I have become increasingly more aware of imbalances in life – perceived favoritism, different standards for different people, perceived ease of life for some verses the struggles for others, and even the perception that the Lord may be hard on some of us, whilst at the same time allowing others to get away with things. All these perceptions, senses and realities draw on the practice of drawing comparisons. Inevitably, comparing situations, circumstances and even lives in this manner feeds jealousy, bitterness, anger and all such like evils.
The Bible tells us that when we commit our lives to Jesus and choose to follow Him, that we do that without comparison to another or without reference to another’s call. The best Biblical example of this is the account of Jesus restoring Peter in John 21:15-22. The resurrected Jesus restores Peter and effectively calls him, who had denied Jesus three times, to lead His Church. Peter immediately compares himself to John: “Peter saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them… when Peter saw him (John), he asked, ‘Lord, what about him?’” (John 21:20-21). Peter understood Jesus’ reinstating of him and indeed Jesus’ call to him to lead His Church. This joy and privilege of responding to Jesus, was almost sabotaged by his decision to compare himself to John. Jesus’ response to Peter was a great lesson for him, and should be a lesson for us all: “Jesus answered, ‘If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me!’” (John 21:22). Jesus was in effect saying to Peter: ‘Your call and John’s call are different. What I am asking you to do is to obey Me in what I am asking you to do. All you need do, Peter, is be true to Me. Be true to that which I have called you to be and to do. John’s call and what I have asked him to do, is My call, and is in My hands, not yours.’
My father regularly reminded me: ‘David, you must stand before the Lord before you stand before any person.’ He was reminding me not to keep looking at what other people appear to be getting away with, or whether their lives were easier than mine, or whether the Lord was appearing to be harder on me, than on others. I know he was reminding me to let God be God, and to leave people in the Lord’s hands – especially those I felt were getting away with things and who were seemingly being blessed, even when they were not honouring the Lord. I am so glad he kept reminding me, as I often slipped into the trap of comparison, which gave rise to jealousy and resentment, ultimately affecting my relationship with the Lord and other people.
It’s no wonder the writer to the Hebrews had to stress this to his readers in Hebrews 12:1-2: ‘Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith.’ The best antidote to the scourge of comparing myself to others, is to keep my gaze fixed squarely on Jesus, giving myself completely to following Him and obeying His every call and prompt in my life. In this way I will keep my heart open to Him and others.
Join me in taking a stand against the potential sabotage of comparison on our relationships with the Lord and others, by choosing simply to follow Jesus, and to keep your focus on Him and what He has called you to be and to do. Find your contentment in the simple joy of obeying Jesus and being who He made you to be.
Bless you all,