“…but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)
We use different tools to measure various things. For example, my husband, a contractor, always has a measuring tape stuck in his pocket or on his tool belt, he uses it to measure: buildings, room areas, pieces of wood, window openings, cabinet sizes, or any number of things. Look at a yardstick. It is not quite as long, isn’t it? It is used for measuring fabrics, children’s heights, counter top heights, etc. Now, look at a ruler. Imagine children doing geometry with it, drawing and measuring triangles and polygons. Now, look at a little 6” ruler. Isn’t it cute? It is useful to measure small things, like a piece of jewelry (good things come in small packages!). We can’t help but compare these tools that seem similar but are obviously different and are useful for their own specific functions. But, let’s see what God’s Word says about this… I have listed five “C’s” of comparing:
Contrast – “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). When I compare myself to others, my eyes are on me, not on the LORD. If I gave a yardstick each to 2 children, what would they do? Well, when my boys were young, they would use them as swords and start attacking each other with them! But isn’t that what we do? If someone is different, or doesn’t do things the same way we do, if we are not careful we start attacking. Be careful of those yard sticks!
Conceit – “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think…” (Romans 12:3). When I compare myself to others and look down on them, thinking myself better than them, my eyes are again on me, and not on the LORD. If you gave each of 2 children a measuring tape, one was 12 feet long, and the other was 25 feet long, how long do you think before they fully extended the tapes and the one with the 25 foot tape starts boasting: “My tape is better than yours! It’s so much longer!” Did you ever hear the phrase, “Give them an inch and they think they’re a ruler!”?
Criticism – “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” (Luke 12:15) When I tear down others, my eyes are on me, not on the LORD. We criticize others usually because we are jealous of them, or covet something they have, and want to make them look bad so we look better. It actually has the opposite effect if we are honest with ourselves, we are the one that ends up looking bad! How long do you think before the child with the 12 foot tape starts saying, “Well, mine is better than yours because it’s newer and shinier, your tape may be longer but it’s UGLY!”
Commend – “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers” (Ephesians 4:29). When we genuinely encourage and edify others for the good qualities that the LORD has given them, then our eyes are on the LORD and others and NOT on ourselves. We should treat others the way we want to be treated and be edifying and grace-full toward others, commending them for their good works and good attitude (or their shiny new ruler!).
Caution – “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). So now that I know what to do with my “ruler”, what am I going to do with it? Am I going to foolishly compare with others? Or am I going to be content with how God made me, and trust and obey Him in this area? I know that I can make myself miserable comparing myself to others and seeing where I fall short in so many areas. But I have to remind myself that God is still working on me, and He is still working on them in other areas, things I may not see.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10)
He saves us by His grace, through faith, unto good works. So, we are all a work in progress, if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, and have trusted in Him alone, by faith in His shed blood on the cross for your sins, then you are in this process. He will keep working on you and me until the day we are made complete and glorified with Him.
“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).
I hope that you are challenged by this in some measure (haha – I couldn’t resist the pun!), as I was. Keep your eyes on the LORD and remember that He’s still working on all of us, so let’s have patience with one another as we struggle through this process of progressive sanctification, and bestow grace on others as we would hope they would bestow grace on us.
~Graced and Grateful Grammy
The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday