Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Download MP3 (right click to save)
When our daughter came into our family, she had Mom and Dad all to herself. It was a wonderful life! Life was a little more complicated for our next child. He got to do what every second-born gets to do. He competed with the first born for Mom's and Dad's attention! He also had someone to measure everything by. Obviously, at every age our daughter could have a few more privileges, a little more money, a little more freedom. So when our son wanted a little different response from us on something, we would often hear sentences that began with the same few words "How come she gets to...?" - sound familiar? When in doubt, compare yourself with a brother or sister.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "How to Guarantee You're Never Content."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from John 21 beginning at verse 19. Jesus had just told Peter in symbolic terms that he was going to end up giving his life for the Savior who he had just declared his love for. And then the Bible says, "Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then He said to him, 'Follow Me.' Peter turned and saw the disciple who Jesus loved was following them." By the way, that would be John. "When Peter saw him he asked, 'Lord, what about him?' Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.'"
Can you hear Peter here, "Well what about John?" Peter was falling into the trap that always leads to frustration and discontentment. He was comparing himself with someone else. That's how discontentment starts – with comparison. It's easy to start comparing your appearance with someone else's, or your lifestyle, or your ministry, your income, your ability, or how people are treating you. So many areas in which we tend to measure how we're doing by someone else, and we guarantee ourselves we'll never be at peace and we'll never be content.
God warns us about this frustrating way of living in 2 Corinthians 10:12. Here it is: "Comparing themselves by themselves, they are not wise." It's unwise because it just causes a lot of negative results like resentment towards the brother or sister we think is getting a better deal or resentment toward God because we think He's not being fair with us.
Of course we always compare ourselves with someone whose situation looks better, right? And we almost never compare ourselves with many people whose situation makes ours look good. And comparing usually makes us feel worse about ourselves.
Now Jesus stops this comparing cancer in its tracks. He says, "What is that to you, Peter?" You have neither the right nor the information to compare His work in your life with His work in someone else's. Jesus says, "Listen, you follow Me." He's got a different plan for each life, a different timetable, a different blueprint for His glory and your good. There's a wonderful peace for those who decide to relax in God's unique plan for their life, for those who will stop this childish game of measuring their lives by someone else's. It's addictive and it's almost always depressing.
Focus on your leader. Focus on Jesus, and not the other followers, and trust that He has you on a track that's just right for you to become and to do all that He put you on earth to do. Comparing and discontentment are ultimately a huge insult to the Savior who loves you deeply and who daily leads you with His perfect wisdom. I can tell you it never made my son happy to live asking "How come she gets to...?" Comparing to a brother or sister never makes a child happy, including a child of God.
If you must compare, compare your life to your Savior's. He had no home but a hillside, no possessions but a robe, and a life totally poured out for the needs of others. Keep your eyes on this incredible Shepherd.