Comparison Kills Contentment

Sharon JaynesGod's love, Identity in Christ, Lovestruck, Trusting God 22 Comments

I was checking out my Facebook posts and feeling a little bit left out. It seemed everyone was having a big ole time with family and friends, and well, I wasn’t. It was Christmas time and it appeared that all the family gatherings were picture perfect…and mine wasn’t.

Pinterest postings of perfect sausage pinwheels. Facebook pics of glittery table setting with Christmas China and matching napkins. Instagram reels of happy families decorating a freshly cut tree. A passel of grandparents, parents, and kiddos dressed in matching Christmas pajamas. And you’re thinking, good for them, kinda.

And don’t get me started on Christmas letters—highlight reels that don’t show the part of the story left on the cutting room floor for no one to see.

Social media accentuates the culture of comparison by sending the false message that your monotonous tedious boring existence is a poor excuse for living compared to others whose lives are awesomely exciting all the time. Secretly, you hope your husband never stumbles across Pinterest to realize what a loser wife he really has. Mercy!

Social media breeds instant comparison at the click of a button. Comparing who has more “Facebook friends,” “re-tweets,” “followers” and “re-pins” is maddening. The age-old comparisons of appearance, accomplishments, possessions, and position are still around. Technology has simply magnified the access to other people’s lives, even though you’re only seeing what others want you to see. And I’m not talking about just the holidays, but the every days.

Comparison is the devil’s tool that he uses to undermine our confidence and kill our contentment like nothing ever will. It magnifies insecurities and fosters a self-absorbed pre-occupation of our inadequacies.

Comparison sullies the canvas upon which God longs to display His greatest work. Nothing will rob you of your confidence in Christ-like comparison. The measuring stick will get you stuck every time.

I love what Jesus said when Peter asked about John’s future. (Yes, he was comparing his future with John’s) “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:22) In other words, “It’s none of your business! Stop comparing!”

I love what Paul told the Galatians: “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else” (Galatians 6:4 NLT). In other words, do your best and don’t worry about what someone else is doing or not doing.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus picked such a ragtag bunch of blundering, blubbering misfits to be His disciples? Even though they stumbled their way through much of the gospels, once they were filled with the Holy Spirit, this uneducated, unrefined, untrained bunch of unruly fishermen changed the world.

A few days after Pentecost, the Jewish Supreme Court questioned Peter and John about their persistence in preaching the gospel and their audacity to heal a beggar lame from birth.

The dynamic duo preached a mini-sermon that struck the religious rulers to the core. But here’s my favorite part of the story: When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished, and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).

The Sanhedrin leaders were mystified at how this bunch of scrappy, saw-toothed misfits could wax so eloquently. Then they had an aha moment. They realized the men had been with Jesus. That explained everything.

That’s what I want people to say about me! She’s an unschooled ordinary girl. How does she do what she does? Oh, I get it. She’s been with Jesus! Can you think of any better accolade? I sure can’t.

So, this holiday season, resist the tendency to compare your life to what you see of others. They are a mess just like you are…like I am…like the disciples were.  But the more time we spend with Jesus, the more we will be resistant to Christmas comparison and refreshed by Christmas contentment.

Heavenly Father, help me not to compare my holiday celebration with others’. Christmas is not about the glitter but Your glory, not the parties but the Person of Jesus, not the presents but Your presence. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What are some ways you have compared your life with others in the past five days? Think of ways others have compared their lives to yours during the past five days. (You don’t think they did? Oh sister, they did. Believe me.)

Do you have a married Girlfriend in God who could use a little encouragement in her marriage this Christmas?

Click here to check out Marriage Resources including A 14 Day Romance Challenge, Praying for Your Husband from Head to Toe, Lovestruck: God’s Design for Romance, Marriage, and Sexual Intimacy, and more! What a great gift~

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© 2022 by Sharon Jaynes. All rights reserved.

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Comments 22

  1. Amen to your comparisons article. I believe we’re also tempted to compare past Christmases with today….and say, “so many are not here anymore.” This can also make us sad and not appreciate the blessings of today. May God help us to be grateful…Xmas is about Jesus!

  2. My pastor used to say comparison is the thief of joy. Thanks for the reminder. Social media can caused me to be depressed and I don’t even know why, but when I really start thinking about it, it is because everyone seems to be having more fun, better kids, a happier marriage, a more caring spouse, a better and more fulfilling career…although my intentions weren’t to compare, thats what I eventually do. Thank you again for sharing this devotional. I’m enough just as I am.

  3. Seeing the happy families when we are experiencing estrangement from one of our adult children is hard, but we are holding on to God’s love and support from other family and loving friends.

  4. Although I havent an answer for the questions asked….. I just want yo say Thank you for the encouragement!! I am constantly dealing with how I feel like my life hasn’t measured up to much and certainly dosent look like I imagined life to look like at this stage. This encourages me that there is still hope, there is still time to become what God has planned and find contentment and happiness wherever possible!! Love you SJ! You always speak to my core!!!

  5. I really needed this just today! God always knows exactly what we need!! Thank you for being faithful to speak the truth about sometimes delicate matters! Have a Blessed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year! And may we follow Christ as the only example of what love truly is and does!

  6. So very grateful that I opened up your email. Like so many of the comments, I have been suffering from the comparison curse. It is a struggle but scripture is always there for us. thank you and Happy Thanksgiving

  7. Thank you as always for an on time word of encouragement!! I am more than enough through Christ Jesus and may I rid my spirit from comparison and count my blessings!

  8. Thank you Sharon. Thank you for reminding me again of Acts 4:13. Most of the time, i feel so inadequate, unqualified and incompetent but thanks be to GOD because everytime my confidence hits rock bottom, GOD always reminds me of the Scripture from 2 Corinthians 3:5 which says that “OUR COMPETENCY IS FROM THE LORD.”
    Praise be to GOD!

  9. Thank you so much for this today. I just wanted to let you how your messages always spot on with what’s going on in my life. Thank you for speaking the messages that God places on your heart.

  10. Thank you so much for this as I really needed to hear this today! Life has certainly taken many turns with loss of family members whether through death, disagreements or just life. At the end of the day we are not alone and God is there so we should never feel less than. He thought enough and loved us enough to die for us on the cross so we need to be happy here on earth knowing that he has our backs.

  11. Thank you for the reminder. Some comparisons I have done are regarding the quality of my relationships, numbers of children and grandchildren, distance from them, and finances. I need to spend Jesus time more than ever.

  12. This was such a good reminder. I find that I don’t even post that often. I felt the awful comparison years ago and didn’t like what I felt so I stayed off for a long time. Then I got back on. Then off. Now, I just like to see the cute babies and what they do because it really does seem like everyone else has it all together even though I know they don’t. I know I don’t. I’m a masterpiece that’s a work in progress!! My stuff is what it is. Thank you for the reminder that I am not alone!

  13. They realized the men had been with Jesus. That explained everything.

    “That’s what I want people to say about me! She’s an unschooled ordinary girl. How does she do what she does? Oh, I get it. She’s been with Jesus!”
    That’s what I hope and pray people will see more often in me. Such an incredible insight. Thank you Sharon for those words

  14. I needed to hear this. Being constantly bombarded by what society thinks everyone needs and not being able to afford the expectations are overwhelming. Remembering to accept what God is giving me, which is all I need, can be very difficult. Trying hard to stop comparing myself to society and start living according to God’s will.

  15. Thank you for this message. I became a great grandma this holiday and I told my daughter to start memories from her home for her first grandchild and already I am doing exactly that, comparing. Not in a bad way but because my husband and I have to stay at home to give his 90 year old mother a Happy Thanksgiving. We take her for a short time from Assisted Living. So in saying this, thank you for all you do and I wish you and your family the best.

  16. Thank you for always writing such amazing messages. I always feel more uplifted and positive after receiving your mails, knowing that our God is Almighty and loves us all equally.
    May you be blessed ✝️🕊️

  17. Sharon, Thank you for sharing God’s love through your devotionals. They’ve touched me in so many ways. Oddly enough, it was the prayer on this devotional that inspired a Christmas poem that I put on our homemade Christmas card this year. It’s entitled “Glitters of Glory.”

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