Do you ever get depressed thinking about what someone else can do/accomplish, spiritually?
Do you ever feel frustrated because, despite your best efforts, you can't seem to do this particular thing?
For example, imagine there's the Christian brother named Jim who is a fantastic evangelist. Jim is able to initiate conversation and frequently find himself sharing the gospel with others and help them when they need it?
Jim has a close friend, Andy, who is quiet and not great interacting with people or initiating conversation. Andy sees Jim's ability and success preaching Jesus to people and he wants to "bear fruit" like Jim. So Andy tries, but regardless of his best efforts, Andy can't succeed like Jim. Evangelistm just seems so natural to Jim, yet with Andy it feels ... forced.
Can you relate? I can.
In the post entitled "GOD Promises to Transform Us into Jesus' Image," I discussed the transformation that is occurring in each of GOD's children, which He has promised to complete.
Christian life is a daily examination of our life in light of Jesus' example.
Our aim is to surrender our will to His, aligning our thoughts and actions to imitate His. This is how GOD wants our life to be.
It's easy for Christians to get caught up in comparing ourselves to other people. This is dangerous and often leads to problems.
GOD has given each of us different gifts and abilities.
Paul told the Corinthians:
But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
(2 Cor. 7:7b NIV)
The Holy Spirit speaks a lot to us in the Scriptures about abilities and finding our place in the kingdom. For example:
3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
(Rom. 12:3-8 NIV)
I don't know about you, but for me, the struggle to:
- find my place within the kingdom, and...
- maintain peace with what I perceive to be my role at the present time...
... is second only to the struggle against sin in its difficulty. In fact, this very subject often arises during my private prayers.
At times, I look at how GOD is using another brother or sister and I feel a strong sense of guilt.
I feel guilty because their role seems so clear and they seem so thrilled with how they are serving.
While I am genuinely happy for them, I find myself wanting to be like them—I find myself wanting their gift too. But their gift isn't my gift.
I've reflected upon this struggle a lot.
I am convinced that the root is an insatiable longing for GOD's approval.
Above all else, including seeing His face, I long to hear, "Well done..."
I know I will hear it in time. He knows my longing, for we've had many conversations about it (plus He already knew anyway).
As I discussed in "Exchange the Time: Live Intentionally," life is too short to waste not making every moment count. I feel the need to ensure my life makes a real difference.
So, instead of longing for the abilities of others, I try to remind myself to pray, "Father, show me my gifts, for I know You have blessed me. Open my eyes to see where I am able to use what You've given me to Your glory. Give me strength, courage and love to do what You set before me. Then, give me peace when I've done what I can do."
Can you relate to this struggle of avoiding comparing your abilities to others?