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Comparison: The Joy Thief

Fish

"If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load." Galatians 6:3-5

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13

Have you thought about the joy thief—the thing that seeks to rob of us our joy; casually, slyly, diverting our attention from the Lord to our accomplishments and possessions that don't quite measure up? 

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” —Theodore Roosevelt

Comparison not only steals our joy, it weakens our faith; drawing us into the shade of self and the shadows where envy and covetousness dwell. Once mired there in the discontent bred by "if onlys" and "why nots" we may lose sight of God's blessing and provision uniquely tailored for the plans He has for us (Jeremiah 29:11). Whatever we have or are living without, no matter the sorrows or struggles; we have a future hope secured and satisfied at the cross. We need not be anxious because the Lord cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). He is the source of stability and solace; the One who forgives our mistakes and shortcomings—offering renewed grace with the dawn (Lamentations 3:23).

There is joy in our journey no matter how arduous or disparate the path. It is this joy; the joy of the Lord that strengthens; bubbling forth when we fix our eyes on the Gospel—on Jesus, the author of our faith, the coming glory, who is seated now at the right hand of God. It is our girding and our underpinning, our sunlight and our hope, the fuel that fires our determination to finish the race.

"When the heart is full of joy, it always allows its joy to escape. It is like the fountain in the marketplace; whenever it is full it runs away in streams, and so soon as it ceases to overflow, you may be quite sure that it has ceased to be full. The only full heart is the overflowing heart." —Charles Spurgeon

Stay rooted and grounded in love, strengthened with the knowledge and fullness of the Lord. Gird yourself against the joy thief of comparison by speaking truth to yourself. Remind yourself we are all different with unique gifts and strengths. Renew your joy found in His presence and faithful love through scripture, prayer, and worship. Build your hope on the promises of God increasing your joy by focusing not on miscellany lacking but on salvation found in the sacrifice of Christ who bought us out of condemnation and death. Find fullness and contentment in the Good News and allow the joy to rise unbidden—overflowing.

Addditional Resources:

Lay Aside the Weight of Prideful Comparison

What to Do WIth a Season of DIscontent