Be better than you, not better than others!


The comparison trap

The only way to thrive in life is to be yourself—to flourish where you are right under the patch of grass God has placed you on. The dangerous mistake so many of us make is that we compare ourselves with others. Brennan Manning made the observation that “we are all cracked pots”. In other words, we all have our flaws. Even the people you admire and strive to imitate have their cracks because they are also human.

I find the story in John 20-21 an amusing story.

Peter and John are both running to the tomb to see if Jesus body had indeed disappeared. You can see the competition in this portion of the text and it is full of humour. John says he beat Peter to the tomb and then he tells us again that he was the one who out ran Peter.

Talk about comparing and competing!

In John 21 Jesus predicts Peter’s death and Peter looks behind and asks, “Lord, what about him?” He is talking about the disciple, John. Jesus’ reply is profound: “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.”

In other words, he was telling Peter to live his life and not worry about others.

So how can we overcome this problem of comparing and competing with others?

1. Be happy with who you are

Okay, we all have flaws and we all need to work on them. I am not suggesting that you become self-satisfied and do nothing to improve yourself. No! Develop your gifts, strive to be better, equip yourself and flourish where you are. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else but yourself.

2. Be happy with who others are

It is not your task to change others, as much as you would like to. Leave others to the Lord, and look after your own heart.

3. Seek to make God happy

When you put God first and diligently seek His Kingdom it is amazing how focused you become on pleasing God.T hat should be our primary objective and desire.

4. Live one day at a time

Jesus was wise when He told us to live for each day because every day has troubles of its own. Living for today helps us to focus on our goals and our tasks for the day. We focus on what we need to accomplish not on what can never be achieved.

5. Give your life away

Jesus told us to ‘lay our lives down’. The best way to lose self-consciousness and over-obsession with others is to give our lives away in the service of others.

These probably sound like difficult steps to follow, but the truth is that they work. When we focus on what is in our hands, do our best with those gifts, seek to please God, and serve others, our lives are fulfilled.

Have a beautiful week my friends. May His peace and grace be your portion. Give your life to serving others and see how blessed you will be!

Carol Alexander

Carol is married to Paul and they have two wonderful children and two grandchildren. She has lived on four continents, traveled to over 50 countries and preached in most of them. She is passionate about Jesus and His Kingdom and has just published her memoir, Wild Hope. She has a PhD in practical theology and currently serves as Director of the Graduate School at Trinity Bible College, North Dakota.

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One Comment

  1. Fenni October 15, 2017 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Well said indeed. We should always strive to better ourselves for ourselves and not for others without loosing sight to keep God at the centre of everything in our lives. Thank you for the useful reminders!

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