The Danger of Comparing Yourself (2 Corinthians 10:12)


Did you ever compare something before?  Were you ever ready to make a purchase, but before making up your mind, you compared one item to another.  Sometimes the decision is easy.  However at other times, it can be quite difficult.

How many times have you compared items and made a wrong decision?  You tried your best, but your decision was wrong.  It wasn’t the end of the world and in the end nothing bad probably came from it.  All of us have done it.  However, there are times when we make comparisons that the outcome can be problematic and even harmful.

Consider the scripture:  II Corinthians 10:12

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

If you took the keywords, defined them and then paraphrased this passage, it would look something like this.

We should not do the extreme behavior of counting ourselves as part of a special group, nor should we judge ourselves with those that exhibit themselves: because those who measure others to themselves or compare themselves to the standard of others are not wise.

What does this actually mean?  We are all familiar with the phrase, “He thinks he has arrived”.  People who see themselves this way are guilty of making themselves of the number.  Sometimes these people stand out.  However, there are others who are guilty of this, but they cloak themselves with false words of humility.

You measure yourself by yourself when you determine your spirituality based on how you compare yourself to others. You may measure yourself more spiritual than others if the others have fallen short of your standard of living or you may consider yourself less spiritual because you have not attained the standard of living that others have set.

We have all done this. We look around the church and interact with those present.  In the back of my minds, we compare ourselves to those we meet.  We point out their weaknesses or shortcomings as the scale of righteousness tips in our favor. For others, the process is quite different. They view others in the opposite way. They identify good qualities in others and make a comparison of themselves. Again the scale of righteousness tips, but they are on the unfavorable side. The event goes on Sunday after Sunday.  This two way street of measuring our spirituality is wrong and unwise.

Why do we do it or how did we get this way? There may be many reasons why you and I act this way but for most of us, it can boil down to a few sources. All while growing up, we were measured or compare. Compared to the older brother or sister or even compared to the neighbor. We were compared to a performance standard to get into sports, compared grades for honor privileges, compared to honesty, compared to hard work, compared in every facet of life. We compare ourselves because we were raised to compare. These comparisons–as a whole–were right, but they are not right spiritually.

Another reason we compare is because of our insecurity as human beings. Since the fall of man, we have fallen short of God’s intended design for man and this creates an insecurity within us. Deep within us, we seek acceptance from others and for those who come to know Christ, we seek acceptance from God. Some of us recognize that in Christ we have obtained acceptance. However for so many of us, this is not so.  Why?  There have been wounds that we have obtained: wounds upon our souls. These are wounds of rejection.  Every time somebody treated us wrongfully, we were also rejected.  Being laughed at, mocked, shunned, and even being teased hurt us deeply because each of these was a rejection. These wounds pressed us down and at times even depressed us.  Our natural response was to seek acceptance from others. In an effort to attain this, we identified what were acceptable standards and then set out to accomplish them. Be thin! Be fun! Be smart! Be popular and the be’s go on. When we came to Christ, the attitude remained within us. We identified acceptable spiritual standards and then set out to accomplish them. Be faithful, be modest, be giving, be helpful, be humble – and the be’s go on. We compared ourselves to others to see how we were doing and when we did, we were not wise.

The Big Choice (Hebrews 12:2)

Each of us make an unnumbered amount of choices each day.  Some of the choices are big while others are somewhat insignificant.  When it comes to major decisions, we greatly desire to make the right decision, because if we don’t, the consequences are unpleasant and usually long lasting.  Some decisions are easily made and others may be very difficult.

The scriptures record two major decisions that Jesus made: one being when he faced Satan and was tempted.  We love the account of how he refused to bow down to Satan in exchange for all of the kingdoms and the glory associated with them.  For us, we know that his decision was a major one, but most people do not know that it was not the first recorded time that he made the decision to deny granting pleasure to himself.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

This passage records that at some time, Jesus had the option of granting himself joy or redeeming man.  It is my opinion that the decision occurred in Heaven.  Can you imagine Jesus experiencing the joy of a heaven and all that he was entitled to as God and then being offered a choice of having that joy which was was set before him or going to earth and redeeming mankind?  And what does he choose?  He chooses you.  Think about it.  You were more desirable and important to him than the joy that he was having in heaven.  You the struggling sinner away from God or you the person who would trust Christ and still struggle with sin.  You the person that would continually fall short or fail God.  He chose you.  This definitely would not be the right choice if he focused on self love, but with his love focused on others, it would be a different story.  For God, it is the right choice.  It is the best choice.  For a God who is love, it is the only choice.

Rejoice is the decision that Christ made. Praise him for his unending love for you.  Live a life of thanksgiving.  It is the least that you could do for him choosing you.

Dog Ear The Page (Psalm 136:23)


One of the things that I do that irritates my wife is when I dog ear the corner of a page. You know, when you want to mark your place in a book and you do not have a book mark, you fold down the corner of the page. I probably do this most often when I am perusing through a cook book and come across a recipe that catches my eye. Because it caught my fancy and I may want to try and make the item later, the corner of the page gets folded down.

There are other ways to mark favorite items. As a boy I sorted through football cards and would set aside favorites in a specific location in my foot locker. Others may do the same with photos, long ago worn baby clothes and even family heirlooms. We set them aside in boxes, trunks and chests. One thing each of these has in common is that the item, because of its own virtue or significance, catches the eye or heart and causes us to mark it or set it aside.

God is the same: he too marks items as special to himself. However the word used for marking an item for future reference is the word “remember”. Who remembered us in our low estate: for his mercy endureth for ever: (Psalms 136:23). I would love to think that because of something special in my self, God marked me for future reference. However that is not the case for me or any of us. God remembered us in our low estate because of his mercy. It was his mercy that caused him to want us. It was his mercy that caused him to “dog the ear” on each of us, sinners, so that we would stand out and be easily recognized for future reference. It wasn’t any of our abilities or our desire for him. It was his mercy and his mercy alone that caused him to choose each of us.

Had it not been for his mercy, we would have been left unmarked and would be left to perish in our sin. If it wasn’t for his mercy, we would not be enjoying his goodness each day of our lives. Oh, how soon we forget what God has done for us and instead only think about what we want him to do for us in fulfillment of our goals, plans and desires. We need to stop and maybe even “dog ear” in our hearts God’s mercy and refer to it each day. Maybe that was Paul’s secret for being content in whatever state he may be in. (Philippians 4:11)

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God’s Countenance (Hebrews 5:2)

What countenance is on God’s face? The varied answers that people may give would be based on each person’s perspective of God. As a child, I disappointed my parents on many occasions and on each of these their countenance was negative in nature reflecting anger, frustration, disappointment or dissatisfaction. Is God the same way? Does his countenance change towards me? For those who are away from God, what is his countenance like? Is he angry? Is he frustrated? Thankfully from the scriptures, we can see that his countenance would be one that reflects compassion.

Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. (Hebrews 5:2)

Compassion? That doesn’t seem like a relevant response to a disobedient believer. Why would he be compassionate? Why wouldn’t he display a negative response towards their lack of regard for his love, salvation and provision? The reason is simple. He has compassion, because he experienced the struggles that we face and the many infirmities that we bear.

As a man, he felt hunger, pain, sorrow and loneliness. Disappointment followed him continually and in his greatest hour of need, he was abandoned by all on earth and in Heaven. He knows that we are not as strong as him and that we are prone to sin and wander. So with compassion, he patiently waits. Oh, don’t get me wrong. God still hates sin and never condones it, but he loves us still. He knows that what we need the most during times of discouragement, fear, failure and sorrow is a compassionate friend.

He will continue to work in your life and patiently wait for your return. The days that you are away from him are a loss to you. He will not force you to come back. We must understand that we are not returning to an angry God, but instead to a compassionate father.

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Precious In His Sight (Isaiah 43:4)

I remember holding my children not long after their birth. My son was a strapping infant with strength and vitality. My daughter was the opposite. She was tiny, frail and weak. They were at opposite ends of the spectrum, but one thing each of them had in common was that they were precious in my sight. They were precious because they were of great value. As rare jewels and metals are sometimes called precious, my children were also precious.

When The Lord looked at us, he too saw us as precious. Me, precious? I don’t think so. One quick look at my past and I see anything but precious. Just glance at my heart today and you will find tucked in the resources of it thoughts, desires and attitudes contrary to anything good. Precious? Not me. How about you? Do you find yourself the same?

It spite of all that, God still declared you and me to be precious. The question remains. How can God see someone like me with all of the undesirable afore mentioned qualities as precious? Although I am not precious in and of myself and neither are you, we are precious because of what God saw we could become.

Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. (Isaiah 43:4)

Have you ever been rejected? If so, it was because they valued you differently than your true worth. Do you feel like you don’t measure up? Your points may be true, but you value yourself less than God values you. Only God can see what you truly are and will become. What we must see and accept is that we are precious in his sight.

Accusations Against God (Luke 23:35)

The crowd, who just days before was lauding Jesus as he made his triumphal entry into the city, was now found to be making accusations against him. Why were the accusations made and what was the cause for such actions? The answer to these questions will reveal why all accusations are made against God by the lost and also the saved.

And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. (Luke 23:35)

It seems that every time a tragedy takes place, the first words you hear from people are, “If God is a loving God, why did he allow this to happen? These same words are made against God by saved people when prayers go unanswered or when trials are permitted to come their way. The reason they make accusations against God is because they do not understand God.

The crowd around the cross made accusations against him and commanded that if he was God to deliver himself from the cross. Their accusation indicated their ignorance. Had they fully understood that his greatest work and miracle was being performed before their eyes, they would have praised him instead of making such accusations. Had they known and understood that the redemption for all mankind was being made, his life was being sacrificed for all and that salvation and deliverance from the bondage of sin was being purchased, they would have offered greater praise than when he made his entrance into the city one week earlier. But they didn’t. Because they did not understand, the faulty reasoning in their heart led them to other conclusions.

Many years ago, my wife and I made a church visit to a family in a nearby town. They had several children with one of them having legs that had not formed properly. As directed by her doctor, the mother would brace her daughter’s feet into a contraption that would twist the child’s legs into the direction they were supposed to grow. This treatment caused much discomfort to the child. She would lay in her crib crying. My heart ached as I heard the little girl’s cries and I am sure that it hurt the mother more than it hurt me. I wonder what the little girl thought. What kind of accusations did she make towards her mother. Did she accuse her of not loving her? Did the daughter turn her heart against her mother for such cruel unloving actions? If she did, she was absolutely wrong because the mother’s actions were intended to deliver the daughter from the bondage of being crippled.

Does not our Heavenly Father do the same. Within each of us resides a nature that is in rebellion against God. It opposes the new life in Christ that we have and strives to bring us back into the grip of which we were firmly held. God in his love, mercy and grace works in our lives through trials to enable us to see his mighty power and to conform us to the image of his dear son. When we fail to see his great work, we will make wrongful accusations against him. It is during times such as these that we must trust in the goodness of God our father and believe that regardless of how circumstances may appear, his actions are always in love and are motivated by what is best for us. If you are struggling in a trial, you would be best to draw closer to God and pray that he would reveal himself to you. He may not reveal the purpose of the trial, but he may reveal himself to you and strengthen your faith to trust his love, care and goodness instead of reacting to circumstances.