Competition, Comparison, and Contentment

Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. 13 But we will not boast beyond limits, but will boast only with regard to the area of influence God assigned to us, to reach even to you. -2 Corinthians 10:12-13

Rick Warren recently tweeted this statement: “After 45 years in ministry I don’t have a competitive bone in my body left.”

As I read that, I had two thoughts: 1.) Of course you don’t, you are Rick Warren! haha! (joke) 2.) I want to get to that place in my life.

While I feel like I’ve grown immensely in this area in the last 5 years, there are still times where I allow comparison and competition into my life. When it does, I identify it and process it through the following thoughts:

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1.) I Identify the Real Fear in Comparison and Competition – As I’ve processed this over the years, I’ve found that when I get jealous, it’s not because I wish God would be using me in the same way He is using someone else, in fact, I am usually thrilled and filled with joy when I see God use others in significant ways. The real fear that accompanies comparison and competition is the fear that everyone else will get to be used by God in a significant way except for me. That is simply a lie. How do you combat that? Simple:

2.) Recognize that we All have Different Gifts and Capacities –  When you feel like God wants to use everyone else except you, you are neglecting and devaluing what God put in you! Too often we devalue what’s in us and magnify what’s in others. That needs to stop!

  • Romans 12 says that we’ve all been given different gifts and abilities and we should use the ones we’ve got.
  • In the parable of the talents, we see three different people who received three different amounts of things to steward. What I think is important to recognize is that everyone got something to be faithful with. It’s the same with our lives, we have all been given gifts and talents to be faithful with, and God promises in His Word that if we’ll be faithful with what we’ve been given, He will give us more.
  • In Exodus 18:21, Jethro said, “But select from all the people some capable, honest men who fear God and hate bribes. Appoint them as leaders over groups of one thousand, one hundred, fifty, and ten.” Too often we develop the mindset that if we’re not leading thousands, then leading one hundred, fifty, or ten is insignificant. Instead, we should be grateful God’s given us the abilities to lead at the level we’re currently leading, be faithful with leading that, and do our best to grow so we can lead more.

3.) Realize that How God uses Others is Really None of Your Business – I’ve blogged about this before here, but in John 21, Peter started asking Jesus about what He was going to do with another disciple’s life.  “Jesus looked at Peter and said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”  Jesus was saying, stop worrying about what I’m going to do in and through others, just follow me and do what I tell you to do! It would be wise for us to do the same.

4.) Know that Nothing You do is Insignificant – This is the key to contentment. I Corinthians 15:58, which says, “So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.” Nothing you do for God is ever useless. Nothing!

5.) Recognize that When You Do Get Whatever it is That You Think will Make You Happy, It Won’t! – Often times when we compare, we think that if we had what others had or got to do what they do, then we would be happy. We  won’t! I’ve found that all you need to be happy and content in life is to love God and love people. If you’re doing that every day, you’ll be content and won’t have the time or energy to waste on comparing or competing.

6.) Get Encouraged – I Thessalonians 5:11 says, “So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” Sometimes, when you’re tempted to compare and compete, you just need some encouragement! Don’t be afraid to ask people in your life to encourage you! I’ll finish this post with some encouragement for you:

  • You are being used by God more than you think you are.
  • You are more gifted and talented than you think you are
  • You have more potential than you think you do
  • You are making a bigger difference than you think you are.
  • You have more than you think you do
  • You are more loved and accepted than you could ever imagine

Thoughts? What do you do to combat comparison? Leave a comment below!

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