Who Is Your Measuring Stick? Comparison In The Christian Life

We live in a culture of comparisons. From the time I was a young girl standing in the checkout line, I was assaulted with images of beauty that I would never measure up to. But I tried. 

Being competitive by nature, I always tried to meet and exceed the presented standard. Having no athletic skill whatsoever, my competition came in the form of academia and goodness. 

In church, we’d talk about behavior, good and bad. We’d shun wrong actions and embrace those who acted justly. Generally speaking, there wasn’t much wrong. Except that it reinforced the comparison mentality society had inundated me in. 

And standards are good. We need to have a place to measure ourselves against. 

With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. -Psalm 1825-26, ESV

I’m always tempted to measure myself against easy standards. I can look at the racism and misogyny plaguing our culture and feel pretty good about my ability to love my neighbor. I can feel merciful when I look at those who leave their neighbor to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. It makes me appear pure when I stand next to corruption. But that is none of these standards accurately reflect the state of my heart.

I might look good when I compare myself to those I feel superior to, but the true measure of my mercy? That only appears when I stand next to those who are truly merciful. 

If I consider myself a pretty good person, it is likely because I am not looking at the truth standard for my behavior. I need to strive. Not to earn the love of God, but to honor what He has done by refusing to settle for only the appearance of holiness. 

If I consider myself a pretty good person, it is likely because I am not looking at the truth standard for my behavior. Click To Tweet

To live a life worthy of the calling I have received, I need to hold myself to the standard given to me, the spotless Lamb of God. 

For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. – 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, ESV

Christians, we cannot settle for good enough. We can’t pat ourselves on the back compared to the brokenness of the world around us. We need to honestly and vulnerably chase after true holiness. If we cannot stand next to the mercy of God, we need to reevaluate how merciful we truly are. 

Christ’s blood covers our sin but does not diminish the call He has given us to follow the example He gave for us. He has paid for our souls and equipped us through the power of the Holy Spirit to be transformed into the perfect holiness of His image. 

We need to compare ourselves. But not to one another. We need to compare ourselves to the only standard that matters, the holiness of Christ. 

We need to compare ourselves. But not to one another. We need to compare ourselves to the only standard that matters, the holiness of Christ. Click To Tweet

So stop looking at the person next to you, and start fixing your eyes on Jesus. His is the only standard and the only opinion that matters. Let’s throw off the comparisons the world calls us to and start focusing on living our lives as Christ did. 

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  1. I love this article, comparison is somehow inevitable. I admire a handful of my fellow worshipers and tend to feel like they’re so blessed. In a good way, it just keeps me on track. Of course focusing on the one and only savior Jesus Christ. Someone once said we should carry ourselves around in a manner that attracts a weak Christian to see a Jesus in us.

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