Do you ever fall into the trap of comparison—doom-scrolling social media, viewing the “better-ness” of everyone else’s life and ministry? Our culture perpetually tells us, “You aren’t enough—you don’t measure up!” It’s everywhere, and if you let it in, it will taint your view of everything!
Social media can be innocent—a good way to connect with friends and celebrate others’ blessings. But through a comparative lens, social media is a toxic trip down a rabbit hole of envy. It kills joy and destroys your ability to savor where you are and what God is doing in your life right now.
Let’s explore ten reasons we can finally crush comparison forever:
1. God Made You Unique. God has imprinted your identity with comprehensive uniqueness. You are a one-of-a-kind creation—indeed, an artistic masterpiece of God. Ephesians 2:10 clearly teaches us that we are “His workmanship.”
2. God Is Writing a Unique Story through Your Life. “The story of you”—your meaning and significance—will never unfold in anyone else. No one can play your exclusive role in God’s story. In Jeremiah 1:4, God told Jeremiah that before his birth, “I formed you… knew you… sanctified you… ordained you.” God called Jeremiah to live his own story, written within the pages of God’s grand story. Envying someone else’s story is merely a distraction from the beautiful stories of grace that God has given each of us to live out.
3. God Is Leading You on a Unique Journey. No one will ever walk in your exact footprints. Your experiences—while perhaps similar to others—are exclusively yours. Job rehearsed how God numbered his steps (Job 14:16, 31:4), and Proverbs 16:9 teaches us that the Lord directs our steps. Faithfully walking the steps God has ordained for us leaves little time or energy to compare our steps to the steps of others.
4. God Has Given You a Unique Ministry. Your uniqueness gives way to a singular kind of ministry that you alone have in this moment. No one else ever had it, and no one else will. Your particular contribution to God’s glory and others’ blessing is yours alone.
Noah preached righteousness and built an ark. Josiah led a national revival. Jeremiah witnessed a national implosion. Daniel excelled in leadership. Paul wrote Romans. And a little-known lady named Phebe delivered Paul’s message to Rome. What if Phebe tried to be Jeremiah? Or what if Peter measured himself by Noah?
Your ministry is yours alone to fulfill, and the estimation—the calculations of its value—are God’s alone.
5. God Gives You a Unique Place. Your placement here, now, for such a time as this is a one-time occurrence in human history. You are like a comet that will pass by only once in its lifetime. When John the Baptist was sitting in prison, Jesus challenged him with these words, “And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me” (Luke 7:23).
Are you offended at the assignment God has given you when compared to those He’s given others? Comparison kills your ability to fully embrace and enjoy your personal assignment from your loving Father. Don’t miss this chance to flourish in what God has anointed you to do.
6. God Calls You to Serve a Unique People-Group. Consider the masterful providence and impossible mathematic planning behind the people you call “your people”! No one else in history will touch that same exact group of people the same way you can. Comparison will prevent you from effectively loving those God has given to you right now.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:10, Paul challenged the church to love well and to “increase more and more” in love toward all the Christians in Macedonia. Likewise, your reach—your influence—your people are yours to love. Don’t allow comparison to draw you away from your God-given people!
7. God Calls You to Unique Opportunities. Open doors and life opportunities are providential and specific. When God desired to renew Emmanuel Baptist Church from 2012 to the present, He allowed me to be a small part of His moving. In that moment, that opportunity became unique to me. No other pastor in human history will be able to fill that spot on God’s timeline. Likewise, your spot is uniquely yours.
In John 4:34, Jesus described His passion to “do the will of Him that sent me and to finish His work.” What non-comparative, singular focus and fruitfulness we can have when we fully embrace the specific opportunities God has shaped for us!
8. God Entrusts You with Unique Abilities and Resources. God creates no carbon copies. In all of human history, no one will write or say the things you would have. No one will develop or steward the resources you alone are entrusted to steward.
Jeremiah had a unique message in a desperately unique moment. Yet, in frustration when no one seemed to be listening, he quit! In Jeremiah 20:9 he said, “I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name.” Thankfully, God’s word burned within him, and he could not remain silent.
Comparison kills your present opportunity. Envying another’s opportunity will prevent you from faithfully stewarding yours. Coveting another’s audience will leave yours unreached. Jealousy over someone else’s abilities will leave your own unused, and those who could have benefited, unblessed!
9. God Has Ordained Unique Outcomes in Your Story. God sent Noah to a rebellious world, Jeremiah to a dying nation, Peter to an exploding church, and Paul to a Gentile world. Each had unique appointments with unique outcomes.
We would never pit these characters against each other. Can you imagine any of them jumping out of their own story to attempt to live another’s? How futile that would have been.
10. God Will Call Us into a Unique Accounting. You will only have to give account for your journey. Each of us will bow before our Lord and answer for the way we ran our own race and fulfilled our own assignments in life. Hebrews 12:1 teaches us, “…let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”
Comparison kills, but a gospel identity liberates us to fully become who God created and calls us to be. Growing in a gospel identity will serve as a pesticide for comparison. Knowing our acceptance, security, and significance in Jesus will empower us to refuse comparison with “who someone else appears to be” or “who others say we have to be.”
Jesus is not comparing us to anyone else. So why should we?
“…But they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”—2 Corinthians 10:12
A gospel identity will continually remind us that we have one Creator who infinitely values us and calls us to run our own race, in this moment, for His glory.
So, keep running, friend. And don’t waste any more time comparing!
Cary Schmidt is the author of Stop Trying: How to Receive—Not Achieve—Your Real Identity and the senior pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Newington, CT. You can connect with him at caryschmidt.com