The Thief

It can rob us of our joy.

It leads us to discontentment.

It distracts us to the point where we lose our focus.

It destroys our passion.

It steals encouragement and breeds criticism.

Who is this thief that steals and destroys if we give it the opportunity?

It’s the thief of comparison.

Sometimes the thief of comparison catches us off guard. It can be kind of sneaky after all. Sometimes this thief is blatantly obvious, staring us down. If we’re not careful, comparison will steal and destroy our joy, contentment, focus, passion, and encouragement of others.

How does it happen?

We see what someone else has, and we want it.

We see the life that person is living, and we want it.

We see, we want, we covet, and jealousy rears its ugly head.

Flee! Run away from jealousy and the thief of comparison. We’ve got to quit comparing our lives, gifts, dreams, relationships, jobs, platform, and opportunities to someone else’s. You know that saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side”? We need to quit living our lives with that mentality. The grass may just appear to be greener because we’re not aware of all that the other person is facing. The grass may actually be greener because they are doing the hard work of cultivating, watering, and blooming where they are planted. The grass may just be a different type of grass altogether…not better, not worse…just different.

So how do we keep the thief away?

We need to remember our identity. For those of us who are followers of Jesus, our identity is rooted in Him. 1 John 3:1 (NIV) says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I’m less tempted to compare my life to someone else’s when I remember my identity in Christ.

Be content…whether we are in a season of plenty or one of want. I may not have everything I desire, but I can still be content and thankful for what I do have. I love what Paul writes in Philippians 4:11-13 (NIV), “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”

Stay focused. We’ve got to run the race set before us. We’re not here to run someone else’s race. They are not here to run our race. We are each designed to run the race set before us. It’s not always easy or fun. Sometimes it’s good but hard. Other times it’s dark and difficult. There are times of ease and abundance. We need to stay focused on Jesus in the midst of every circumstance…whether it’s a time of plenty or want.

When we know our identity, choose to be content, and run the race set before us, our passion is fueled. We’ve got to decide to use our gifts, talents, and experiences and put our all into everything we do. Trying to be someone else or run their race instead of our own is a passion killer. We should celebrate the success of others and share in their joy instead of downgrading their success. We need to encourage and build one another up instead of tearing down and criticizing. We need to quit blaming others for our unhappiness and choose life and joy.

Let’s shut the door on the thief and choose to be joyful, content, focused, passionate, and encouraging as we run our race alongside others running their race.