John 21:18 – “Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” (Verse 19) This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
(Verse 20) Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” (Verse 21) Peter seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” (Verse 22) Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.”
(Verse 23) Then this saying went out among the brethren that this disciple would not die. Yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?”
Jesus was talking to Peter in verse 18, about Peter’s death. Peter understands it to mean that he is going to die a horrible death, but then Peter turns and says, “What about him?” Peter wanted to know that the other disciple (which is John) is going to die a horrible death also. That is exactly what some people do – they compare themselves to others. But Jesus answered Peter if that He wanted him to “live forever,” what’s that to Peter?
The Curse of Comparison
a) It produces inferiority or superiority. When we compare ourselves to someone else, we are either going to feel inferior or superior – insecurity or pride. That’s in comparing anything another person has also. For instance: Their house is better than mine; my car is better than theirs; their job is better than mine and so on. Every time we compare ourselves with someone else, we either feel inferior, insecure, or superior, and prideful.
b) Comparing produces anger toward God. We know that God has everything under His control. We then ask why God would bless others and not bless us. If a person stays on that line of thinking, they will build resentment towards God. Not only will they resent God, but they will begin to resent other people. People will even begin to resent themselves for not having or being what they think God wants from them. We can’t love others until we love ourselves.
I have truly seen other Christians be resentful when blessings are poured out on someone else. They wonder or say, “Well, what about me? Or even, “They don’t deserve that!” That’s just plain wrong! Or how about the ones that are secretly happy when something bad happens to another person? They think they deserved it because of something they did or were not doing.
c) A comparison will open the door to Satan. James 3:14 – But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. (Envy is the root of comparison.) (Verse 15) This wisdom does not descend from above but is earthly, sensual, demonic. (Verse 16) For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. (Comparison is based on the sin of envy.)
Envy will open the door to rebellion and deception. When a person begins to envy what someone else has, they open themselves up for the enemy to come in.
The Cause of Comparison
It’s a lack of acceptance. The person doesn’t accept who God made them to be. 1 Corinthians 12:24 – But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, (Verse 25) that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another.
God distributes gifts as “He wills.” There are people that only want the pastor to pray for them to be healed, but the person sitting right next to them may have the gift of healing that God chose to give them.
The reason this happens is that some people do not understand their identity in Christ, not knowing what their own gift or calling is. 2 Corinthians 10:12 – For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
It’s not wise to compare ourselves and this kind of comparison doesn’t descend from above, its earthly, sensual, and demonic! In general: Jealousy has to do with people and envy has to do with things. James tells us that when we allow these two evil things to come in our lives, every evil thing abounds!
Covetousness is another cause that people compare. Covetousness is greed and selfishness with a “mask.” Covetousness is “I want what they have.” It goes a little further; “I want their life because I don’t like the one You gave me!” Covetousness is ingratitude at the highest level! Covetousness puts a fist in the face of God.
Colossians 3:5 – Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
An idol takes the place of God – idolatry. God gives us a person and things, but we want what the other person has. That thing or person becomes an idol. That’s how covetousness becomes an idol.
People don’t realize that by them not wanting God to bless another, could be what is stopping God from blessing them. Those people that get upset when God blesses others, could be what stops their blessing.
The Cure to Comparison
Romans 1:21 – because although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
This verse is talking to people “who know God.” (Verse 22) Professing to be wise, they became fools, (Verse 23) and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man – and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. (Verse 24) Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, (Verse 25) who exchanged the truth of God for the lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
This is what happens when people take their eyes, their focus, off God and put it on other things or people. They began to lust after what they saw that others had instead of what God was giving them. So what’s the cure for not comparing?
Verse 21, says, Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God,… The number one cure would be to “Glorify God. Number two would be to be “Thankful.” Then they became “futile in their thoughts.” Then they have to “renew” their minds.
When they stopped worshiping and glorifying God, they began to focus on themselves. They began to focus on the creation rather than the Creator. And when they did that, they began to satisfy the lust of their flesh. If you read the rest of the chapter, it will tell you how they even began to do “debase’ things that were not natural.
When we glorify God, we are to magnify Him. We make Him bigger in the same way a “magnifying glass” does an object. We look at God and see how big He is. When a person begins to magnify anything other than God, they are on the path to opening the door to the enemy!
Gratitude – grace attitude. Gratitude is an attitude of grace. We will never have a problem with gratitude when we understand that nothing we have we deserve! We have what we have by the grace of God. However, being unthankful will open the door to all kinds of evil. Being unthankful is a habit.
We should have a thankful spirit every day for what God has given us and then tell Him!