Over the past few weeks, I seem to constantly be playing referee between our kiddies who all seem to want the same toy as their sibling… until they get it and something else looks more appealing. Comparison is happening left right and centre- from milk levels in a cup, to stickers on their chart. And as I have observed and oft intervened in these scenarios, I have been aware of God gently opening my eyes to someone else who compares… and unfortunately this person is revealed everytime I look in a mirror.
The house we currently rent and the one next to us, are both currently owned and designed by the same person. A few weeks ago, I was invited in to my neighbour’s home. As I walked through the house, it was apparent the two homes were virtually identical. Yet, to my surprise, I immediately started comparing the two. Who has better tile choices, who has positioned furniture more successfully, whose home is cleaner.. etc etc. Arghh! I walked out feeling so frustrated at the depths of lust, covetousness and sin in my heart. Theodore Roosevelt’s saying, “comparison is the thief of joy.” was proven true.
Since then, I have noticed it isn’t just homes that I find an opportunity to compare. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Television, School Drop Off, in the checkout line, waiting in my car in the lights, on the scales, at the park as I parent… the list goes on. And like Paul, I find myself crying out:
“15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good.17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:15-24)
I so long to be free from the sin that entangles and that restricts. My body is a battleground.
“Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.” (Romans 7:25).
As we battle, He has battled and He has won. He has placed His Spirit in us. We can serve God and we can be transformed. Praise God!
And in the meantime, as the Spirit of God convicts me, reminding me that I am made in his image to glorify him, to live my life with an audience of One, I can continue to work at this. If this is an area you struggle with too, can I encourage you to join me in reading “Compared to Her” by Sophie de Witt? I have ordered my copy and I am looking forward to reading it and growing in my understanding of why comparison is so infectious both in our culture and within my heart. Let me know if you’d like to join me!