Comparison – The Thief of Joy
1 Samuel 8 records the dangers of comparison. Samuel was appointed by God to lead Israel. However, the nation was not content to enjoy the peace and protection that God gave through Samuel’s leadership. Their cry was, “Give us a king to lead us” [1 Sam 8:6].
Despite God’s warning through Samuel that this was an act of rebellion against God’s plans [1 Sam 8:10-18], the nation persisted in their cries, “No! … We want a king over us. Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles” [1 Sam 8:19-20]! The nation got Saul as their first king. And the rest of 1 Samuel reveals the painful consequences of such a choice.
It all stemmed from the desire to “be like all the other nations” [1 Sam 8:20]. Ah…the dangers of comparison which robs one of all joy. While we may not necessarily ask for a king, we are still prone to fall victim to the sin of comparison in other ways.
Why can’t I look like…?
Why can’t I have a job or a house or a car be like…?
Why can’t I have a spouse or children be like…?
Why can’t my kids be like…?
Why can’t I be popular like…?
Why can’t I have a ministry like…?
The list can be endless!
How can we avoid this sin? Only with the power of the Holy Spirit as we allow these words of Scripture control our thinking!
Hebrews 13:5 “… be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
1 Timothy 6:8 “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”
Proverbs 30:7-8 “Two things I ask of you, LORD; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.”
May our hearts echo the words of the hymnist Joseph Gilmore, who so wonderfully put it this way in his hymn “He Leadeth Me – O Blessed Thought”:
Lord, I would clasp thine hand in mine
Nor ever murmur nor repine
Content, whatever lot I see
Since ’tis thine hand that leadeth me
So, instead of looking at others which leads to dissatisfaction, “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” [Heb 12:2-3]. After all, if the Lord Jesus is our shepherd, we truly lack nothing [Psa 23:1]!