In the days before social media the knowledge that growing numbers of our former classmates were getting married, buying houses and travelling the world was information that we could compartmentalise. We might have felt a twinge of jealousy hearing such news and reflecting on the lack of similar milestones in our own lives but it was easier to shut it out and return the focus to our own goals. Today it's much harder to ignore.
An innocent scroll through Facebook can quickly turn into a rabbit hole experience. Pictures of fun holidays, status updates about dream job offers, and wedding/engagement/pregnancy hashtags infiltrate our daily lives, prompting many of us to question how "well" we're doing in relation to our Facebook friends.
The solution to measuring our success and self-worth according to our Facebook newsfeed doesn't lie in the death of social media. After all, we've always used one another as benchmarks for determining how well we're doing. Instead, the solution lies in trusting completely in God to lead our lives according to His plan, and making love our default response, not jealousy.
But don't just take my word for it. Here's what the Bible has to say about why we need to stop comparing ourselves to others:
It leads to us prioritising pleasing others over pleasing God
Galatians 1:10 - Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 6:4-5 - Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.
Philippians 2:3 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.
It stops us from appreciating what we have
Acts 20:35 - In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'
James 1:17 - Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
It reveals a lack of faith
Proverbs 3:5-6 - Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Matthew 6:30 - If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
It stops us from loving
1 Corinthians 13:4 - Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
1 John 2:15 - Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.