I’m guessing I’m not the only one who struggles with the temptation to compare myself to others.
Honestly, comparison in one of the biggest challenges I face each day as a high school student. Every day I’m surrounded by people whom God has gifted with so many different talents, and it is so easy to compare myself to them and feel like I’m not as good as they are.
It doesn’t help that we are surrounded by every type of social media twenty-four hours a day. A survey done by the Pew Research Center shows that about 70 percent of teens have access to and consistently use more than one social media platform. It also says that, of those teens who have access to social media, nearly 25 percent suffer from depression.
Those two statistics probably go hand-in-hand because we constantly compare our everyday lives to other people’s Instagram accounts, which is not a fair comparison at all.
People don’t post pictures of being left out from the party or not having a date to the dance. Instead, their posts show fabulous family vacations or going with friends to the coolest concerts. Comparing ourselves to others’ nearly flawless Instagram pages sets us up for disappointment and keeps us from remembering what really matters.
The Dangers of Comparison
Although social media and digital technology weren’t around during biblical times, the Bible still shows us the dangers of comparison.
Cain, the firstborn of Adam and Eve, worked the fields while his brother, Abel, kept the flock. When it was time to bring an offering to the Lord, Cain brought some of the fruits of his land as an offering, but Abel brought the best portions of the first of his flock. Genesis 4:4–5 says that the Lord favored Abel’s sacrifice over Cain’s.
God wasn’t rejecting Cain’s gift but rather his heart because he wasn’t right with God. Either way, Cain was jealous that God did not accept his gift but had accepted his brother’s. This anger eventually led him to kill Abel.
This story reminds us of the dangers of comparison.
Cain compared himself to Abel, and, in the end, drove himself into a life of destruction. He was so focused on the blessing of his brother that he missed God’s love for him and the opportunity to make things right with the Lord.
Satan uses comparison as a way to convince us that we are not good enough. This is always a lie because God made us in his image, and he’s the only one who gets to say if we are good enough.
And, even more, we have to remind ourselves that Jesus loved us so much that he died on the cross so that you and I could spend eternity in heaven with him.
God doesn’t care whether you get cut from the school play, make straight As, get into the perfect college, or that your life is as put together as other people’s appear to be.
He is focused on the condition of our hearts and what he can do in our lives (not what we can do).
Are You “Captivated with Purpose”?
Bob Goff wrote, “We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.” This quote reminds me that if we look to God to find the places where he is teaching and even calling us, then we can find a bigger purpose in our daily lives other than simply looking good in comparison to others.
The Bible says this too: “Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:2). When we stop comparing ourselves and focus on God, we can help others feel confident about themselves in the Lord and live for him—which is really all that matters.
But when we continue to allow comparison to influence us, we start to struggle with insecurity, which drives us to judge and put others down.
This week, I encourage y’all not to compare yourself to others, but rather to find ways to build others up and remind them of their identity in Christ.
It doesn’t have to be anything major—maybe just post a HOCO picture with the girl who may not have lots of friends. Or just go out of your way to have a conversation with someone you don’t usually talk to at school.
The truth is that comparison leads to a life of insecurity, and when we are able to stop worrying about our own popularity and appearance, then we can just enjoy the great news that God loves us just the way we are.
When it comes to God’s love for us, there is no comparison.