To start at the beginning of this series, click HERE.
Each post in this series has been a process. The Lord slowly built each of them within me, until I felt it was finally time to write it down. It has been challenging, and a learning experience at the same time, because as I mentioned before, by NO means do I have this whole “living content” thing down. Just as it is for you, it’s a growing experience, I’m learning new things from the Lord, even as I write these posts. The reason I mention this is for two reasons, 1- I don’t want you to think I have all this figured out, and 2- today’s post is one of those things the Lord just recently showed me, and it totally changed my perspective on what content living looks like.
If our vision comes from comparison instead of compassion, it will always lead us to a mindset of greed or poverty. Instead of reacting to what others around us have, we need to respond to God. We need compassion, not comparison.” – Nathan Edwardson
As soon as I started this series, our pastor started a series on money being our rival god (it’s incredible, you can listen to it here). I had already written a few posts in this series but when he said that quote, a light bulb went off in my mind and I wanted to stand up and start clapping!
Comparison leads us to hold on tightly to “our” things while looking around at what others have, and always wanting more. We quickly forget that everything we have is because the Lord has blessed us with it.
Compassion is looking to the Lord, acknowledging that everything we have came from Him, and turning to Him to ask how we should use those things for His kingdom.
I truly believe God loves to bless His children, but what do you do after He blesses you – do you turn around and ask for more, or do you give it back to Him and ask Him how He’d like you to use it?
I want to share a quick example from my own life, that I feel God wants me to share with you. Many of you have read our house story, if you haven’t you can read it HERE. Our house was never something we asked for, the Lord completely blessed us with it. At the time He gave it to us, we had no idea how we were going to be able to afford it, but the Lord is faithful and somehow every month we managed to pay the bills. And there wasn’t, and still isn’t, a day that goes by without my husband and I acknowledging the blessing this house has been, and that we get to live here.
But knowing this was a gift from the Lord, from the beginning I asked Him how He wanted us to use it, what was His heart and His purpose for our home. I know the original reason was for our oldest to have a safe place and room to heal, but what God showed me over time was that He blessed us with this house to use along side my gift of hospitality – He wanted us to use it to love those around us.
So shortly after we moved in, I reached out to my neighbors, got to know everyone, invited them into our home, into our lives. We’ve spent afternoons decorating cookies with the girls on the street and we’ve gathered the whole street for BBQs in our cul-de-sac, I’ve cooked chili and gathered over 20+ neighbors in our house to celebrate Advent, we’ve Christmas caroled and we’ve even cried with some of our neighbors. I don’t share these things to “toot my horn”, I share them as an example of what it looks like to have compassion and ask the Lord what His heart is, and how He wants you to use what He’s given you.
On the flip side of this, I shared last week that I’ve struggled with wanting my home to look more beautiful, like the pages of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I also find myself wishing we could move and I could build a new home, but then the Lord convicts me and reminds me to look at Him and not give into comparison, looking around at what others have.
This is just one example of a thousand. How many of us feel like we never have enough money, but it’s because we’re spending it on clothes, jewelry or the latest beauty trends. I wonder how much money we’d really have if we had compassion and asked the Lord what He wanted us to do with it, instead of spending it trying to measure up to the comparison game.
The battle of comparison vs. compassion is real. It’s a spiritual battle that’s warring over our hearts – the Lord wanting us to look to Him to use what He’s given us for His kingdom, and the enemy always tempting us to use it to further “our kingdom”. This battle is not a new one, think back all the way to the Garden of Eden. The reason Eve took a bite of the fruit was because the enemy was telling her there was more, God was holding out on her.
We all know that was a lie and that God had given her everything, and more, than she could have possibly needed, but the enemy can be so convincing. It’s easy to point the finger at Eve and get mad that she messed it up for all of us, but how many of us are doing the same exact thing in our lives?
You might not be living in the Garden of Eden but I know God has blessed you with more than you could ever need, and if you feel like He hasn’t, maybe you need to look around and reexamine your heart’s attitude toward what He has already blessed you with.
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.'” Haggai 1:6 (NIV)
If you turn from comparison to compassion I guarantee your outlook on life will change. If we choose to seek God’s heart for every blessing He’s given us, our hearts will be filled with hope, joy, love and all the other fruits of the Spirit, because we will be walking in the blessing of the Lord, not giving credibility to the lies of the enemy.
Don’t let the enemy rob you of God’s blessings by using comparison, fight back with compassion and seek the Lord’s heart for what He has blessed you with.
This should be the prayer of our hearts every day of our lives, so I’m placing it at the end of each of the posts in this series –
God, empty out of my heart everything that is false – every lie, and every crooked thing. And give me neither undue poverty nor undue wealth – but rather, feed my soul with the measure of prosperity that pleases you. May my satisfaction be found in you.” Proverbs 30:8-9a (tPt)