Sitting there scrolling through my newsfeed, I could feel the yucky pit in my stomach, my throat starting to burn just a bit, and the sinking in my soul bearing the weight of feeling less than. Post after post of ministries, experiences and causes left my mind reeling with the countless things people are doing to serve the Lord or to minister to the flock. People starting non profits, people writing Bible studies, people speaking to thousands of people, people dedicating their lives to helping people gain freedom, people ministering to the grieving, the lonely, the lost, the homeless, the helpless, the hopeless. The world is filled with SO. MANY. GIFTED. PEOPLE; people God is using to show people Himself. But rather than celebrate the awesomeness of that statement, I found myself comparing myself, sizing them up, and even judging some of them. I was internalizing and equating my value with what I am doing for the Lord in comparison to others around me.
In my doubt, discontentment, and discouragement, I felt the tap of the Holy Spirit gently saying, “You’re in sin. You’ve completely lost sight of who I am and who you are in Me.” First, I was so busy comparing myself to others that I was failing to rest, abide and be confident in using the gifts God has given ME. Second, I saw clearly how celebrating the way God has made and gifted others is critical to the body. If we are not the biggest cheerleaders for one another, who will be? Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works.” When is the last time you stopped to consider this? I think if we’re really honest, this is a significant issue plaguing the Church today; jealousy and envy are wrecking us. We claw, compare, and cut down. We conjure up ethereal truths about others, drawing assumptions about their ministry, their home life and even (gasp!) their walk with God. At times we like to see others fall flat because it makes us feel better about ourselves and helps us feel as though we’re not alone in our imperfections. On a bad day, we look at the platform someone else has and we are envious that God is using them and not us; this is the ultimate low when it comes to comparing ourselves with others. Why in the world do we do that?? Oh the darkness of sin, and oh the LIES we believe that are so readily served on a silver platter by the enemy. It’s a tragedy.
If we are not the biggest cheerleaders for one another, who will be?
What if instead of feeling threatened by others’ success, we gave glory to God for how He gifts and resources the Body? Who wants to live in competition rather than cooperation? Paul shares with us in Philippians 2:1-4, “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in HUMILITY count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” There is so much beauty in the body of Christ from all of the different facets and gifts coming together for ONE purpose. THAT is something to celebrate! There is plenty of room in the world for LOTS of leaders, servants, authors, entrepreneurs, teachers, writers, and speakers. God is using them all for HIS Glory and for HIS purposes.
We must stop allowing the distraction of comparison to keep us from the things God has set right in front of us to do. And listen close: this comparison thing is something I struggle with almost daily. It’s a battle, a fight to ward off the lies of not being enough. I believe Satan, the father of lies, loves nothing more than to tell us that we might as well not even try because it will never be good enough, big enough, or make enough of an impact. You are not alone in your battle; I and many others are in the trenches with you. We need to cheer each other on in our battles as much as we need to cheer each other on in our callings. We also must stop belittling the faithfulness in the ordinary. I am convinced that the people who will be wearing the most jewels in Heaven will be people that were nobodies by the world’s standards. I think we will be taken back by the quiet, faithful people whose names may have never appeared on the front of a book, but who loved God and loved others well. A public ministry or life does not give more worth or merit, and I think it’s important that we remember that.
It’s a battle, a fight to ward off the lies of not being enough.
Don’t miss out on what God wants to use you for! He has gifted us uniquely to fulfill a very specific purpose here on earth, and we can choose to use those gifts or squander them, being consumed with what everyone else is doing. We often forget that it’s the Lord who apportions the gifts and it’s HIM that determines how they are used and if the work is fruitful. It is HIM who searches hearts, motives and intentions. He doesn’t need to use any of us, but He chooses to. Our God is perfectly capable to weed out pride and selfish ambition and to sift out insecurity and self-righteousness. He does not need our personal judgments on people’s ministries or lives; what He needs, is for us to be FOR each other, not against each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” We were designed to live this life together, spurring one another on, encouraging each other in our passions, giftings, and callings. Let’s allow Him to do the work that only He can do through us, and let’s cheer each other on along the way.
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Image Credit:Khahn Hmoong, Creative Commons