One of the many reasons social media is such a huge part of our day is because it allows us to peer into the personal lives of people we might not even necessarily know and give us a feel of how much better off or worse off their lives are compared to ours.
Think about it: We've all probably felt this way before. I have to admit that I have. You're scrolling down through your newsfeed and then you see that your work colleague or high school classmate just went on a company-paid trip to Maldives with the family. All of a sudden you're thinking, "I wish I would get a free trip to Maldives."
It's so easy to compare ourselves with other people because deep inside us is a small, envious spirit that causes us to covet. We don't always realise it and we often barely notice it, but it's there. Deuteronomy 5:21 tells us, "And you shall not covet your neighbour's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbour's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbour's" (ESV).
As simple as that sounds, sometimes it's hard to fight it off. We try our best to steer clear of the green-eyed monster, but it's just there. What is it about comparison that makes it so easy to fall into? Well, simply put, in all of us is a sinful nature that causes a dissatisfaction. We take one look at the latest smartphones, signature bags and clothes, and we just want to have it before anyone else we know does.
Comparison is a dangerous alley to walk into. Theodore Roosevelt once said, "Comparison is the thief of joy." When we are quick to compare ourselves to others, we find it hard to live day to day with joy instead of an unholy dissatisfaction. How do we stop comparing ourselves to others?
Galatians 6:4–5 brilliantly says this: "Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others. Assume your own responsibility" (GW, emphasis added). Instead of comparing ourselves with others, we can instead compare ourselves with ourselves.
God wants us to be satisfied in Jesus Christ, but the grace of God pushes us to want more—more of Him, more character, more perseverance and more love. However, instead of comparing ourselves to yesterday's version of ourselves in a healthy way, we can often be lured into comparing ourselves with our brothers and sisters.
Remember that there is no point in comparing with others and to do so will only lead us to wish we had more or to wish others had less, which is not God's desire. God desires to fill you up and already is in the process of constantly filling you up through Christ, but when we're too busy being envious of others we fail to enjoy what we now have in God. Ecclesiastes 6:9 tells us, "Better is the sight of the eyes than the wandering of the appetite: this also is vanity and a striving after wind" (ESV).
You are already blessed in Christ and so is everyone around you. Focus now instead on how you can receive more and more of Jesus and grow better than who you were before, regardless of whether you're better than everyone around you.