“Let your imitation of Christ replace your striving for any other version of life. Love follows Jesus!”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 15, 2022
Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.” Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following, the one who had leaned around at supper that time to ask Jesus, “Master, which of us will betray you?” Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord? What sort of death will he die? Jesus replied, “If I want him to live until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.” John 21:19-22, TLB
Unhealthy comparison is a cousin of envy—a gnawing discontent and longing for a better person, place or thing that only bears the bad fruit of resentment. Envy says, “If I could only look like her, be as smart as her and have a husband like her. It’s not fair. If I could only have a job like his, money like his and opportunities like his I could be successful. I’m a victim.” Sadly, even Christ followers who forget to follow or who attempt to follow when all the while craning their neck to see if they are ahead of others, wastes time in unhealthy comparison. Freedom from discontentment comes from knowing Jesus is enough. Become the best version of yourself.
Peter made the impulsive mistake of turning his back on Jesus (who had just said, follow Me), glaring back with a jealous stare at John the beloved disciple. Perhaps he was fearful that John would somehow get more of Jesus than Peter would enjoy. Jesus once again calls Peter out, in essence He says, it doesn’t matter what I have for someone else, what I have for you is what we just reviewed: love Me by loving others—feed My sheep. And the beauty of God’s will is both and. John tarried with Jesus in loving devotion to be able to write, God is love. And Peter’s holy boldness to stand and declare to the rulers, “There is no other name under heaven whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Both uniquely called to follow Jesus! In Christ is freedom from comparison.
“Any place where you find jealousy and selfish ambition, you will discover chaos and evil thriving under its rule. Heavenly wisdom centers on purity, peace, gentleness, deference, mercy, and other good fruits untainted by hypocrisy” (James 3:16-17, The Voice).
Unhealthy comparison is false humility, which ironically is a subtle form of pride. Has comparison become a backdoor approach to get attention for your jealous ego? Let go of saying or thinking, “I’m not as spiritual as her, but at least I am more spiritual than him. Or, my career is not as successful as his, but I am more successful than most. Or quietly musing, some families at church are good like mine, but most need my prayers.” Secretly comparing nourishes pride! C.S. Lewis gets right to the heart, “It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.” Beware of comparing and be grateful that all success is the fruit of God’s grace.
How can you be set free from unhealthy comparison? Embrace and celebrate God’s blessings and come to the point of, if all you had was Jesus—He would be enough. Extra pleasures in life are bonus blessings! Charles Spurgeon sums up this idea, “If you are not content with what you have now, you wouldn’t be satisfied even if it were doubled, because you haven’t yet realized that Jesus is all you need.” In Christ you are all you need to be and you have all you need. Sweet surrender to your Savior is your act of worship, your reasonable service to know Him and His will for your life. Linger in His presence, long for His love and imitate Christ with your life. Let your imitation of Christ replace your striving for any other version of life. Love follows Jesus!
“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12-13).
Heavenly Father, all I long for and all I want is Jesus, to be content in His love alone, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Who do I need to begin to celebrate how he is blessed by God, instead of resenting his blessings?
Hillsong Worship (Acoustic): Christ is Enough
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