A few editions ago of “… In Trials,” we began discussing faith becoming evident, during our times of trials. Right now, I am in a bout of debilitating physical weakness. It’s hard, but one thing that gets easier during these moments… the comparison game.
The Art of Comparison
We all play the “what if” and even the comparison game.
It isn’t to our benefit, but we still do it.
Hopefully the moments of comparison are with ourselves, and not verbal with others. This past week, I started asking for prayer regarding an important appointment I had today. I was met with interesting comments from others, all stemming to put me down.
I wish we knew how to replace comparison with something else. Something relationally and spiritually beneficial.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he goes so far to say those who compare themselves are unwise. Why?
“…[T]hey are without understanding (10:12, NIV).”
I fit the bill, quite well. Unwise. Lacking emotional and spiritual understanding.
My Spiritual Comparison
One area of my spiritual life that I wrestle with, is being so different from two men of God who possessed something I am desperately envious of.
God gave me weakness,
yet Samson and Joshua were given strength.
These men had a mission and purpose, so they got the strength needed to succeed in their mission and purpose.
I would settle for less-than-Sampson-level-strength.
But, this, I fail to see the point of it.
I want to be able to read this passage of Scripture one day, and feel differently about it, because God has clothed me with absolute peace during the hardest times of physical weakness…
“… So here I am today, eighty-five years old!
I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out;
I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then (Joshua 14:10b-11, NIV).”
As mad, frustrated, disappointed, and annoyed as I get, I know physical strength is just not my gift. It’s just not one of the blessings God has given me… But, I bet Joshua and Sampson didn’t have a desire to/love of/ knack for writing either… I need to just be thankful for the moments where the physical weakness isn’t as bad, so I can enjoy my other strengths – like writing.
Concluding verse 13 of 2 Corinthians 10, Paul writes these words that tie together this truth – Comparing ourselves to others needs to be replaced with boasting in the position God has given us.
“[We] will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself
has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you (vv. 13b).”
What are your strengths? How are you choosing to thank God for your strengths, during a time of reminder of your weaknesses? “Boast… [in] the sphere of service God Himself has assigned to [you] (2 Cor. 13b).”