In 1990 the best collegiate track athletes gathered for
the NCAA Championships. As the runner leading in the men's
15OO meter finals approached the finish line, he looked to
his left. Seeing he was still ahead with only a couple of
meters to go, he raised his hands in celebration. Because he
failed to lean forward to hit the tape, a runner on his
right edged him out for the victory. Looking to his side
cost him the national championship.
God has called you to "run in such a way that you will
win the prize." (1 Cor. 9:24) Turning to your side to
compare yourself to others can hinder you from winning God's
prize. God's prize is worth far more than a national
By asking yourself, "How do I measure up relative to
others?," you invite bondage into your life. You are not
entrapped by answering the question in the wrong way; you
are entrapped by entertaining the question at all. When you
walk through the "Door of Comparison," you will inevitably
plunge into one of three pits.
The first pit is the pit of pride--for those who conclude
that their superior talent means they are superior to
others. They don't realize that their talents are simply
gifts from God. "Who sees anything different in you? What do
you have that you did not receive? If then you received it,
why do you boast as if it were not a gift?" (1 Cor. 4:7)
Those who conclude they are inferior descend instead into
the pit of discouragement. They feel hopeless. "I'll never
be as good as _____________. Why even try?"
Others motivate themselves by competing with others.
Striving to come out on top, they fall headlong into the pit
of selfish ambition. Their motives are contaminated. God is
not honored by excellence produced by the drive to be better
than someone else.
Many people base their self-image on their judgment of
how they stack up to others. They go through the Door of
Comparison because they are deceived into thinking that how
they compare to others really matters.
Freedom from these traps comes from realizing 1) God is
the only judge that counts, and 2) God will not judge you by
comparing you to others. He will judge you relative to what
He's given you. "To whom much is given, much will be
required." (Luke 12:48b) Greater talent brings greater
Imagine standing at the Judgment Seat watching Christ
judge the person in front of you. That person says, "Lord,
you gave me two talents, and here, now I have four." The
Lord responds, "Well done, good and faithful servant, you
have been faithful in little, I will make you master over
much. Enter into the joy of your master!"
You breathe a sigh of relief. When it is your turn, you
say, "Lord, I have four talents too." The Lord responds,
"Four!? But I gave you ten to start with!"
You should strive for excellence, not so you can be
better (smarter, richer, stronger, etc.) than someone else,
but so that God may be glorified. A Stephen Curtis Chapman
song says, "God wants your best, not your 'better than.'" If
you want to win eternal reward, "work heartily as unto the
Lord and not unto men, knowing that from the Lord, you will
receive the inheritance as your reward." (Col. 3:23-24)