To read the first 2 posts in this series, begin HERE.
So far we’ve talked about gratitude and God not owing us, but today we’re going to talk about comparison. Honestly this topic is a little hard for me to write about because by NO MEANS am I perfect when it comes to this subject. I struggle with comparison all the time, but the Lord is working in my heart and continually reminding me to shift my focus back to Him and His faithfulness.
I’m currently reading “The Envy of Eve” and when the author boils comparison down to the fact that it’s actually coveting, my mind was blown. I honestly had never thought of comparison as coveting, but as she unpacked the idea, the truth was there staring me in the face. The author says,
This subtle comparison game, if allowed to ferment in our soul, can begin to take root and bloom into a life of discontentment and pain. The source of the problem is the sin of coveting – a sin that may appear inconsequential in comparison to the rest of the Ten Commandments. However, it’s like a drop of water that can find its way into a tiny crack of a rock. Once it freezes, it can cause a [crevice] that damages the rock and splits it to the core.” – Melissa Kruger
The act of desiring something, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, it’s when we take the desires of our heart, and compare them to what others around us have, that we fall into the dangerous trap of coveting.
To covet means “to feel desire for what belongs to another” (Webster’s Dictionary) which is exactly what comparison is. So all this time I thought of this “subtle comparison game” as a normal, harmless thing, but all along I was breaking the 10th commandment!
I know most of us look at commandments like, “do not steal” and “do not murder” and we think “of course we would never do those things!” But I’d be willing to bet that everyone of us covets something every day. I’d also be willing to venture that the consequences for coveting can outweigh the consequences of the “bigger” commandments.
How do we get to the point of comparing and coveting?
Coveting comes from our lack of belief that God is good, and that He has already provided us with everything we need.
Our lack of faith tells us we know what we need, better than God does. So we covet what we don’t have, which doesn’t fulfill us, it only leads to pain and further discontentment. Comparing leads to coveting, which leads to discontentment with our lives, and the Lord – which then leads us straight to the lies of the enemy.
The enemy loves it when we are discontent with the Lord because it opens the door for him to “show us” all the ways the Lord doesn’t provide for us. Suddenly our “eyes are opened” to our great lack – our lack of a healthy family, good friends, strong marriage, a nice house, a new car, success in business, cute clothes, the list goes on. . .
This is an easy, but vicious cycle to get caught up in. So how do you break out of the cycle? The only way I know how to break free from the lies of the enemy, and from a covetous heart are to combat them with truth and gratitude.
Let’s start with gratitude. I know I talked a lot about it in this post but I want to touch on it for a few minutes. The most important thing to stop and remember is that EVERYTHING we have, is because the Lord blessed us with it. Your marriage, your house, your car, your job, your money, none of it is actually yours.
When was the last time you looked around and took a few minutes to be thankful for what you do have?
My guess is that most of us spend more time coveting than being thankful. Colossians 3:15 tells us “[we] are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (NLT) When we live our lives with a thankful heart it’s easier to find the peace that comes from Christ.
Now let’s talk about truth. When we live life always comparing what we have to what other’s have, it’s because we have forgotten God’s truth and that He is our ultimate provider. We have exactly what we need, because He knows what we need, more than we ever will.
When you open your generous hand, it’s full of blessings, satisfying the longings of every living thing. You are fair and righteous in everything you do, and your love is wrapped into all your works. You draw near to those who call out to you, listening ever closely, especially when their hearts are true. Every one of your godly lovers receives even more than what they ask for. For you hear what their hearts really long for and you bring them your saving strength!” Psalm 145:16-19 (tPt)
“The Lord will never forget us in our need; He will bless us indeed! Yes! He will bless His lovers who bow before Him, no matter who they are. God Himself will fill you with more. Blessings upon blessings will be heaped upon you and upon your children from the Maker of heaven and earth, the very God who made you.” Psalm 115:12-15 (tPt)
That is the truth.
The Lord wants to heap blessings over you, giving you more than you’ve ever asked for!
But He sees your heart and He knows whether you are asking from a place of gratitude or a place of comparison. All throughout the Psalms it talks about the Lord providing abundantly, but when you read through them you also notice the Psalmist’s heart is filled with gratitude. Here’s one of my favorites –
Let everyone, everywhere shine with praise to Yahweh! Let it all out! Go ahead and praise Him! For He has conquered us with His great love and His kindness has melted our hearts. His faithfulness lasts forever and He will never fail you.” Psalm 117:1-2 (tPt)
So my challenge today is for you to examine your heart.
Is your heart filled with thanksgiving and gratitude for all the blessings God has already given you, or is it filled with comparison and a covetous spirit because you don’t think God has given you everything you “deserve”?
I ask myself these questions on a daily basis, sometimes more than once. To escape the vicious cycle of comparison, and the lies of the enemy, we have to get in the habit of filling our hearts with thanksgiving. We have to declare the truth – what the Bible says about God’s goodness!
It’s SO easy and SO tempting to take hold of the lies the enemy is dangling in front of us, but I promise you, living a life believing God is cheating us, will only lead to discontentment, emptiness and dissatisfaction in every area of your life.
It’s just not worth it.
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)