One Question from Jesus Can Help You Not Compare Yourself with Others

What to do when other lives seem better than yours.

Someone else’s stuff always seems better than ours. Have you noticed? Even their struggles seem better. The temptation to compare yourself with somebody else can be devastating in the Christian life.

What Helps You Not Compare Yourself with Others

(Photo: By Michael Johnson, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

When Peter first met Jesus, the fisherman followed the Master out of a motive for glory and a prime seat in the kingdom of God. Peter wanted to be the “greatest” in comparison to others. But after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, a single conversation along the shores of the Sea of Galilee at Tabgha changed Peter’s whole frame of reference.

That conversation can also help you not compare yourself with the lives of others.

It can free you to follow Jesus as an individual.

Compare Yourself to Peter (and See Yourself)

Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Of course, Peter affirmed his love for Christ. Then Jesus looked far into Peter’s future and revealed what Peter’s love would cost him:

When you were younger you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go. —John 21:18

In other words, Jesus told Peter that he would die a martyr’s death—ironically, the very thing Peter had feared when he denied Jesus.

Jesus reminded the apostle of their beginnings together by saying something He had said years ago along these same shores (Mark 1:17; John 21:19).

“Follow Me!” Sounds simple. But then Peter asked a question.

Shores of Tabgha, beside the Sea of Galilee

(Photo: Shores of Tabgha, beside the Sea of Galilee)

The Knee-Jerk Reaction to Compare Yourself

Peter noticed John walking behind them. “Lord, and what about this man?” (John 21:21). Having learned of his own violent death, Peter inquired how John would die. Torture? Crucifixion? Come on, Lord, You can tell me!

Peter still struggled with comparisons. Jesus’ response brought Peter’s priorities back into perspective. “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” Then Jesus repeated the command, with a particular emphasis, “You follow Me!” (John 21:22). Just as we reveal our love for Jesus by serving others, so we should serve without comparing ourselves to others.

But how?

The “Compare Yourself” Cure

Someone else’s calling or cross always seems a better deal than yours. Compare yourself with him or her and you will react with envy, discouragement, or depression.

But answer Jesus’ question, “What is that to you?”

  • Jesus died for all of us at once; but we enter a relationship with Him as individuals: “You follow Me!”
  • The bottom line? Comparison stems from either coveting or pride and smacks of basic ingratitude to God.

The Lord reminded Peter what all believers should remember:

And the motivation for such devotion? Jesus answered that with a question.

“Do you truly love Me?”

Tell me what you think: What’s your advice to help someone who is struggling with comparisons? To leave a comment, just click here.


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