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Comparing Ourselves to Others

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For God does not show favoritism

Romans 2:11

I think we have a natural desire to compare ourselves to others when we see something in others that we desire. I know for myself that when I see a dynamic preacher with skills to capture the listeners, I tell myself, “I wish I could preach like that.” When I was racing triathlons, I would see a known competitor in my age group as he bicycled passed me, and tell myself, “I wish I was genetically gifted like him.” I think these reactions are normal, and this can be good because we can learn skills from others that may help us; however, the reaction can be bad if others make us feel angry or inferior.

Sometimes when I hear a dynamic speaker at a convention, noticing his skills and knowledge, I start to compare my skills to his skills and emphasize my shortcomings in preaching. I realize my limitations, and if I compare myself to others it can make me feel inferior and envious in these areas. A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot (Proverbs 14:30).

We need to admire the talents and skills that God has given to others, and be pleased to tell them. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another (Proverbs 27:17). We can learn from others if we are motivated to improve ourselves as we carefully listen and watch. We can always improve our skills and talents through prayer, learning from others, reading books, or taking a training course.

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life (Galatians 6:5-6 MSG). All God requires from us is to do the best we can with the skills and talents he has given us. We seek to improve and give our best to the Lord, knowing the power comes from Christ through the Word, and not from our own skills. And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God (1 Corinthians 2:1). Paul’s power came from “the testimony about God,” not from his skills in preaching or his wisdom.

Never be jealous of the skills and talents of others because God looks at the heart. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”(1 Samuel 16:7). The Lord doesn’t look at the outer appearance or how talented or skilled a person is, he looks at the person’s spiritual heart. We seek to give our best to God with love in our hearts to minister to lost souls with whatever skills we have. It not the skill, it’s the heart.

Today look for the best in others and seek to bring out the best in them. We want people to be confident in their ability to bring lost souls to Christ and we do this by encouraging others. The goal is to promote the Kingdom.

Let’s Pray: Lord, guide me to encourage others in their skills and talents to bring souls to Christ. Help me to build your confidence, courage, and strength in others. In Jesus name, Amen