Day 2 of 3 • This day’s reading
A Thief of Joy
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Perhaps like no other time in history, we live in a world of constant comparison. How do I measure up to others when it comes to my job, car, house, marriage, bank account, social media following?
“If my life could only be like hers.”
“Everything he touches seems to turn to gold.”
“I wish I had their life.”
Before we know it, we feel downright depressed.
The Christian writer can also fall into the comparison trap. Read enough books and you quickly realize there are some very talented authors out there. What we don’t always consider is the particular path God took them on before their books were published. We forget about the blood, sweat, tears, pain and toil that helped shape their lives and the books they’ve written.
Focus is the main issue here. When our focus and attention are on others and their accomplishments, we lose sight of what God wants to do in and through us.
In his interaction with Peter in John 21, we see Jesus putting the lid on comparing ourselves with others.
After graciously restoring Peter (John 21:15-17) as a disciple, Jesus gives Peter a rather unpleasant glimpse of the kind of suffering and death that awaits him (21:18-19).
Peter then looks over his shoulder at John and asks a question many of you parents have heard your kids ask regarding their brother or sister: “What about him?”
Jesus gets pretty sharp with his response to Peter by essentially telling him, “That’s none of your business…as for you, follow me.” (21:22)
Peter had enough on his plate to be concerned with what was happening in the lives of others. Jesus redirects Peter’s focus to where our focus also needs to be…on Him. As with Peter, following Jesus requires our full attention.
When we attempt to duplicate the successes of others, we water down the uniqueness of who God has made us to be in this place and time. Even though Peter’s path was going to look different than John’s journey, the thing they had in common was bringing glory to the same God.
When we’re busy following Jesus, there won’t be time to make comparisons to others.
In the end, it’s all about Jesus. That’s where the joy is.