Monday, March 24, 2014

Galatians 6:4-5 Don't look to the left or to the right!

Why is it that we insist on comparing ourselves to others? This is such a futile thing to do! Either we compare favorably and become proud and judgmental, or we compare poorly and feel defeated. Either way we lose! I used to hope, before becoming a Christian, that God would grade on a curve. I wasn’t as good as some, but I wasn’t as bad as most, I thought. So, surely God would accept me into Heaven. I did not realize that the standard was not others, but Christ! The standard was perfection, and I more than missed the mark!

This tendency to compare ourselves to those around us is deadly and straight from Satan, because it sidetracks us and it kills our joy! It gives us a false sense of superiority or leads us into depression. That’s why Jesus soundly rebuked Peter when, after hearing from Jesus that he would die at the hands of others for his faith, Peter wanted to know what would happen to John:

Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?” 

Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow me.” (John 21:21-22)

Jesus was telling Peter to mind his own business and keep his eyes on Jesus, not on the other apostles. Don’t covet the ministry or gifts of others. Don’t whine because you seem to have it so hard while others seem to be floating through life. God has a specific plan for you. Keep following Him!

Paul says the same thing in today’s verses from Galatians 6:

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.  For we are each responsible for our own conduct. (Galatians 6:4-5)

Eugene Peterson has an interesting paraphrase of these verses in his book, The Message:

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. (vs.4-5, The Message)

So, if you find yourself grumbling about how hard you are working for the LORD, when no one else seems to be stepping forward, or if you complain because you work much harder than your coworkers, in the words of Archie Bunker, “Stifle it!”

Make sure you are doing what God has called you to do, then trust Him to equip you for the job. He will give you the strength and the direction to complete whatever work He has given you. Get your satisfaction from knowing you have been obedient. Don’t concern yourself with what your neighbors or coworkers are doing. God will take care of each one of us. You aren’t responsible for the obedience of anyone else - just your own. True joy is the by-product of obedience!  

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