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The Monaco Christian Fellowship is an international community, with many cultures and languages represented. Our objective is to help people encounter God in relationship, engage truth with integrity and embrace life with purpose. For more information, please go to www.mcfellowship.com.


Comparing ourselves with others

I am amazed – and troubled – at how quick we are to make comparisons between ourselves and others. Admittedly, comparisons aren’t always bad. They can be used to motivate or correct. When they become a problem is when they’re done for the wrong reasons (to make ourselves seem superior) or elicit the wrong response (discouragement or a sense of defeat). In this last sense they can destroy the soul. So, what do we do about comparison?

There is an interesting interaction between Jesus and Peter that is recorded in the gospel by John (chapter 21 and verses 15-22). In the context, Jesus has announced his upcoming betrayal and death. This led Peter to state – in front of the other disciples – that he was willing to die in defense of Christ and that he would never leave Jesus, even if the other disciples ran away. In spite of his bravado, Jesus told that Peter would deny even knowing Him three times before the morning light dawned (read John 18:15-27 for details), which is exactly what happened.

As we pick up the story, in chapter 21, Jesus has eaten breakfast with the disciples and is now talking to Peter. And He asks him the same question three times. Using the nuances of the different Greek words for love used here, the three questions and responses could be translated:

“Peter, do you truly love me with a sacrificial love more than these?”
“Lord, you know I like you.”

“Peter, do you truly love me with a sacrificial love?”
“Lord, you know I like you.”

“Peter, do you like me?”
“Lord, you know I like you.”

Notice a few things about how Peter and Jesus used comparison. Peter compared himself to the other disciples; Jesus compared Peter only to himself (his own words). Peter made his brag in front of the other disciples, implying they were not trustworthy; Jesus confronted Peter alone.

Jesus dealt with Peter as Peter, not as “one of the twelve disciples.” He started from where Peter wanted to be in order to show him where he actually was. And He didn’t condemn him for that. Instead, He gave Peter an important job: “Feed my sheep.”

He was demonstrating one of the most amazing facts about His relationship with us: God will take us where we are, and as we are, to take us where we’d like to be and make us what we should be.

It is interesting to see that later, in Peter’s two letters in the Bible, it is a more modest Peter who keeps calling his readers back to a love relationship with Jesus Christ.

It isn’t the perfect people that God uses; it’s the broken ones – those who have been broken by the hypocrisy of their spiritual pride and have stopped playing games with God.

God does not expect us to look and act like every other Christian. He is not interested in our outward conformity to human standards and expectations. Instead, God looks at the heart. As with Peter, He only wants to know one thing: Do you love me? And, like Peter, any degree of positive response will bring just one requirement: Follow me.

It seems the issue isn’t whether we’ll compare ourselves with others – we will! – but to whom we compare ourselves. We should only compare ourselves to ourselves, or to Christ.

If we do that, we can walk with joy and purpose through the mountains and valleys of life, without comparing ourselves to what others are doing, how they’re doing it or how God is using them. Not only is that healthy, it’s emotionally and spiritually liberating and energizing!

CONCLUSION

In the 1976 Olympics a runner from Haiti, competing in the 10,000 meter race, was lapped three times by the rest of the competitors. While many of us would have been happy to give up, he kept going. In fact, he ran three complete laps alone, dogging the men who were setting up the track for the next race. And when he finally crossed the finish line, he’d set a new personal best and a Haitian national record.

That’s a good illustration of what it means to compare ourselves to Jesus Christ. We don’t need to concern ourselves as to where the others are. They are none of our concern. We only stop running when we have finished the race. Until then, we keep running the race set out before us. That way, when we cross the finish line, we will be able to hear those beautiful words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew chapter 25)

Think about it.



 


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Rev Jim Beerley

Monaco Christian Fellowship Perspective
by Pastor Jim Beerley



The Passion of The Christ - Free Bible