How to Conquer the Curse of Comparison

How can we overcome harmful comparing?

Years ago, I attended a leadership conference at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago. It was wonderful, but I almost ruined my experience via the curse of comparison. It made me miserable.

curse of comparison

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1a NIV)

Pastor Bill Hybels had started Willow about the same time I founded my church. But his had grown into one of the biggest and most impacting churches in the USA. I compared Hybels’ success with mine and the more I compared, the more discontent I became.

I was rotting inside as Proverbs 14:30 describes, “A relaxed attitude lengthens a man’s life; jealousy rots it away.” (TLB)

Comparison and jealousy rot us as they bring discontent, bitterness, unhappiness, depression, and anger.

I knew I needed to conquer the curse of comparison. But how could I do that?

In my recent article, How the Curse of Comparison Crushes, I showed why we often struggle with comparison.

In this article, I want to share how I began to conquer the curse of comparison:

Here’s what has helped me.

1. Rest in God’s Love

How the Curse of Comparison Crushes

The world is full of comparisons—what’s the problem?

Life is full of the curse of comparison, but often comparison crushes. Did you watch “American Idol” (or as I like to call it “American Idolatry”)? Generally, I liked the show and Carolyn was a big fan. But sometimes it could be brutal. Especially early in each season when performers thought they were being brought to the next level because they were talented. In fact, they were being set up to be rather viciously mocked and humiliated by Simon and others.

comparison crushes

One time our family went to a Madame Tussauds Wax Museum where they had an “American Idol” singing venue. I sang “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” The mechanical Simon said it was “amazing.” Then he added “amazingly awful.”

That was funny. Our boys loved laughing and mocking me with Simon. But often comparison isn’t funny. In fact, it can be highly demoralizing. Comparison crushes.

Have you experienced how comparison crushes? Maybe you were judged:

  • Too slow
  • Too dumb
  • Too ugly
  • Too awkward
  • Too serious

I’ve compared my talents, income, IQ, popularity, home, career, success, children, even my spirituality, and felt like a loser on most all counts.

Why do I subject myself to the pain of comparison? The same reason you do. It is human nature to compare—a temptation that is part of the Curse; it’s the curse of comparison. And comparison crushes.

God’s Word says: “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” (Galatians 6:4 NLT)

How Comparison Crushes

I’ve seen three major problems when I compare:

1. When I Compare, I Live in Discontent

Warning — Stay Out of The Shack!

Bad things happen in there.

Please stay out of The Shack. Both the novel and now the movie. The novel is theologically dangerous. The movie, opening Friday March 3, 2017, is an extension of the novel. Be careful.

Stay Out of The Shack

 

Please understand, I love good stories and good movies. I wouldn’t be  advising you to stay out of The Shack unless there was significant cause for concern.

Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 ESV)

1 John 4:1 says, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Christians are told to be discerning. But it seems that many Christians lack discernment.

Others have analyzed and written about the many misleading aspects of The Shack. So, I don’t need to write more—you can read their great articles here:

What I’d like to do is answer some of the reasons I’ve heard for why it’s OK to read, watch and recommend The Shack:

1. For heaven’s sake, The Shack is just fiction.

Hi from Brazil – Seeing Jesus’ Impact Around the World!

The astounding influence of Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ impact around the world is amazing. I’m here in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil doing ministry and a little vacation time with Carolyn. It’s been a wonderful trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina, then Montevideo, Uruguay and now here. Soon I leave for Uberlandia, Brazil and then I’ll finish in Sao Paulo, which might be about the time you read this.

Here’s a video I recorded a couple of days ago on our sightseeing tour around the city.


At the Metropolitan Cathedral of Saint Sebastian in Rio de Janeiro.

In this video, I referenced two books about Jesus’ impact around the world throughout history. The first is What if Jesus Had Never Been Born by D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe. I read it years ago, but have never forgotten it because I was profoundly impressed. I wrote a summary in an article with the same title.

Jesus’ impact around the world

The second book is How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin J. Schmidt. This is the one I’m currently reading. I’m again astounded at the impact of Jesus.

Jesus’ impact around the world

Jesus’ impact around the world is just astounding!

The following short essay does a good job summarizing Jesus’ impact around the world throughout history:

One Solitary Life.

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpentry shop until he was thirty, and then for three years he was an itinerant preacher.

When the tide that popular opinion turned against him, his friends ran away. He was turned over to his enemies. He was tried and convicted. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never owned a home. He never went to college. He never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompanies greatness. Yet all the armies that ever marched, and all the governments that ever sat, and all the King’s that ever reigned, had not affected life upon this earth as powerfully as that One Solitary Life.

To find out how to know God personally today through Jesus Christ, please click HERE!

Additional resources about related subjects on this site:

NOTE: Facebook is random. Email is reliable. Subscribe via email and you won’t miss any of my articles, podcasts or videos. You’ll also get my eBook: 10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth

I’m in South America for a While

In less than 24 hours from my writing this update, Carolyn and I will be flying to Argentina, in South America. By the time you receive this, we’ll be in Uruguay. Then we go to Brazil. Our travel is part vacation and part ministry.

in South America

We recently sent our middle son Danny to Denmark to serve as a long-term missionary! Here we are just before he left on January 25.

In Brazil, I’ll be sharing our new ministry “Discipleship Journeys with Jesus.” (I’d love to have your prayers as I present a training on discipleship and how to use our lessons.)

Thus, I won’t be posting my usual content for a little while. Which perhaps makes this a good opportunity to take my “2017 Reader’s Survey” if you haven’t already done so.

It’s only 10 questions long and designed to help me meet your needs.

Thanks for taking the survey.

Also, while I’m in South America and won’t be posting, I bet there’s some helpful articles on my site that you haven’t read yet. Here’s some suggestions:

  1. Five Keys to Staying Happily Married for 34 Years
  2. I Love Muslims But…
  3. 3 Steps to Overcoming Betrayal and Building Trust Again
  4. Five Questions for Those Who Think Many Roads Lead to Heaven
  5. My Classmate Bart Ehrman’s Hopeless Response to Suffering
  6. Four Steps to Climb Out of a Pit of Depression
  7. What Scripture Says About Homosexuality: Uncut, Uncensored, and Unedited
  8. How to Handle the Death of a Loved One and Other Losses
  9. Five Ways God Speaks To Us
  10. My Great Grandpa and the Pre-Titanic – Part 1
  11. Why I Burned My Sister at the Stake
  12. What Does God Owe Me?

Remember, if you have a question on a topic, you can do a keyword search through the search function on my site. For example, if you want to learn about anxiety, love, marriage, children, success, death, the resurrection, etc. Just put the word into the search to find relevant articles.

Here’s what the search looks like, right under my photo on the top right of my home page.

You also might like to check out my “Recommended Resources” page. On it you’ll find links to many ministries that can help you grow as a follower of Jesus.

To find out how to know God personally today through Jesus Christ, please click HERE!

Why a Loving God Sends People to Hell

2nd in my series: “The Top 10 Objections to Christianity Answered.”

The Bible is clear that God sends people to hell. Or perhaps it is better stated that they send themselves there. That bothers many. How could a loving God do or allow that? It confuses people. I’ve had to contemplate this issue carefully.

God Sends People to Hell

The USA Supreme Court represents the highest level of justice in the land.

This is the second article I’m writing in a countdown of “The Top 10 Objections to Christianity Answered.”

I’ll give my answers to why God sends people to hell in two categories:

1. God is just.

2. God is love.

1. God is just (fair).

Please Take My 2017 Reader’s Survey

It’s only 10 questions.

This website exists to help and bless you. To be as helpful as possible, I need your feedback and advice. That’s why I’m asking you to please take my 2017 Reader’s Survey. To do so, just hit the button below.

2017 reader’s survey

What are your needs, aspirations, struggles and preferences? How can I help? Please let me know through the 10-question survey link below.

It should take just 5 to 10 minutes to complete this 2017 reader’s survey.

Responses are completely anonymous.

Thank you in advance for helping with this. Please respond quickly since I’ll be compiling results soon.

Again, thank you for helping with this survey!

Additional resources about related subjects on this site:

NOTE: Facebook is random. Email is reliable. Subscribe via email and you won’t miss any of my articles, podcasts or videos. You’ll also get my eBook: 10 Prayers to Unlock Heaven on Earth

7 Amazing Ways God Reveals Himself to Us

The 1st in my series: The Top 10 Objections to Christianity Answered.

God reveals Himself to us, He just doesn’t do a very good job of it. That’s what many seem to think. In fact, I’ve sometimes thought that myself. I’ve wondered things like: Why doesn’t God make it more clear that He exists and His plan for humanity? Why be mysterious? Why not make things obvious? Why make people take a step of faith to believe?

God Reveals Himself

So today I’d like to address those questions.

This is the first article I’ll be writing in a countdown of “The Top 10 Objections to Christianity Answered.”

I’ll give my answer in two categories:

1. Why God reveals Himself to us more subtly than we might like.
2. How God reveals Himself sufficiently for those who are willing to receive and love Him.

1. Why God reveals Himself to us more subtly than we might like.

3 Biblical Reasons Racism is Sinful and Silly

The Bible speaks clearly against racial discrimination.

Racism was only a small, subtle problem where I was raised. I grew up in the all-white, middle-class town of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Everyone was Caucasian: everyone in our schools, our neighborhood, our stores and our church. Finally in high school, about five African-Americans were “bussed” in from nearby Whitehall, apparently to add variety to the racial scene.

racism

Thus, there was not much racial tension—there was no one to be tense with! But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t hear some racial slurs and learn some subtle racism. I’m ashamed of that now.

After high school, I attended Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago. There the racial situation was quite different. I was given a Practical Christian Work assignment in a high-rise tenement building on the south side of Chicago. We went to the home of a dear elderly African-American woman who invited in the children nearby for our little Bible class.

I began to realize that racism is sinful and silly.

Still, I didn’t have opportunity for a lot of interracial interaction. But after becoming a full-time missionary in 1998, I’ve been blessed to work in 60 countries on every inhabited continent of the world. I’ve met and ministered with believers from many nations and races.

Often the Christian passion, zeal and sacrifice of all the other ethnicities have impressed me deeply. They usually have less money, education, opportunity and freedom. Yet their commitment to Christ is immense. When I travel I often think of the words of Jesus, “So the last will be first, and the first last.” (Matthew 20:16 ESV)

I’ve come to realize that for a Christian, any racism is wrong.

Here are 3 biblical reasons racism is sinful and silly:

1. God’s love does not discriminate racially.

4 Reasons Why 90% Believe God Exists

God’s existence is obvious to most.

Virtually all Americans believe God exists. They disagree about many other issues, sometimes quite vehemently. But one subject that there is virtual unanimous agreement on is they believe God exists. This is true despite the attacks of the “New Atheists,” the development of modern science and the often liberalizing trends of society.

Believe God Exists

Per research done by The Gallup Organization, about 90% believe in God. Worldwide, the percentage of atheists is about the same—only about 10%.

Recently, I learned of an extended family member who is questioning belief. Raised in a Christian home, it seems the doubt might be just an excuse for living a non-Christian lifestyle. Of course, this is quite disappointing for my wife Carolyn and me. But learning about it got me thinking about why the overwhelming majority believe God exists.

So, here are my top 4 reasons why most people believe God exists:

1.  Nature shows us there is a Creator.