The first step in becoming a contented person is to stop comparing ourselves to others. The problem is that comparing is America’s favorite past time! We naturally do it all the time.
We walk into somebody’s house, and the first thing we do is make comparisons: “I like that floor! Look at that drapery! Wow, what a television!” We walk past somebody and think, “I like the way she did her hair; mine looks terrible today.” We are constantly comparing, and it keeps us frustrated. We’ve got to stop it! If we’re going to learn contentment, we’ve got to stop comparing our life to everyone else’s.
We also must learn to admire without having to acquire. We need to learn to rejoice in other people’s prosperity without getting jealous and envious and feeling like we have to have it. This is one of the great principles that Americans don’t understand. We don’t have to own it to enjoy it!
It’s not just a good idea to stop comparing; it’s a commandment. Exodus 20:17 says, “You shall not covet . . . anything that belongs to your neighbor.”
Coveting means the uncontrolled desire to acquire. It’s such an important sin to avoid that it’s included in the Ten Commandments. The word “covet” in Greek means “to grab or to grasp so tightly that our hands are tight; we can’t even let it go.” If God ever gives us something and he tells us to give it away and we can’t, then we don’t own it....... it owns us!
God is not saying we should never have a desire for something. Desires are not wrong. In fact, our desires come from God. But when a desire is uncontrolled, it becomes coveting. When we desire something that is not ours, that’s evil. But a desire is not a negative thing.
Nothing can be accomplished unless you desire to do it. You can’t become more like Christ without desiring to become more like Christ. For instance, you can’t be a more loving person without desiring to be a more loving person. Desire is not bad until it is uncontrolled and we think we’ve got to have more, more, more. The root of that kind of desire is in comparing ourselves to others.
You can’t have a contented life until you learn not to compare.
My Challenge for us today is to desire not to compare our lives with anyone else and live in the contentment of life only God can give.