Are you exhausted by comparison? Do you become more consumed with jealousy every time you glance sideways at “her”? Do you become more weighed down with inadequacy, every time you scroll or drive or walk past “them”?
Are you worried you’ll never measure up? Are you desperate to prove you do?
Read the very words of Jesus, spoken to people just like you, in the following verses. Let his words be a balm over your comparison wounds. And if need be, allow his words to jar you from being lulled into the world’s way of measuring.
Sideways glancing is exhausting. Are you ready to live me-free?
Comparison Verses: Words of Jesus
In a world that never stops enticing us to compare, it’s important that the “sheep” listen for the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd (John 10:3). We can tune our ears to his voice by reading Jesus’s words, recorded for us in the Bible.
Below are some of Jesus’s famous upside down statements from the Gospels. I’ve taken the liberty of adding bold emphasis to the comparison words, in the following quotes of Jesus.
“But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” Matthew 19:30 ESV
“Note this: Some who are last will be first, and some who are first will be last.” Luke 13:30 CSB
So the last will be first, and the first last.” Matthew 20:16 ESV
Sitting down, he called the Twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last and servant of all.” Mark 9:35 CSB
“But many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first.” Mark 10:31 GNT
“And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:30 ESV
“Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child—this one is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:4 CSB
The greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11 ESV
But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. Luke 22:26 ESV
“So then, whoever disobeys even the least important of the commandments and teaches others to do the same, will be least in the Kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, whoever obeys the Law and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the Kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19 GNT
‘And said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.”’ Luke 9:48 ESV
“Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:12 ESV
For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11 CSB
‘And he told them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly admired by people is revolting in God’s sight.’ Luke 16:15 CSB
“I tell you,” said Jesus, “the tax collector, and not the Pharisee, was in the right with God when he went home. For those who make themselves great will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be made great.” Luke 18:14
In my study, Comparison Girl, we take a careful look at the conversations Jesus had and the stories he told, which these upside-down comparison statements are part of.
Here are my simple definitions for key comparison words in the next set of verses (and some from the words of Jesus), along with links for expanded definitions at Dictionary.com.
- Jealousy is when I resent her because she has more. (More at dictionary.com)
- Envy is when I am agitated because I have less. (More at dictionary.com)
- Selfish Ambition is when I try to prove that I am or have more. (More at dictionary.com)
- Conceit is when I am pleased because I am or have more. (More at dictionary.com)
- Slander is when I try to lower her standing using my words. (More at dictionary.com)
- Comparing is when I glance sideways and try to measure my greatness against hers. (More at dictionary.com)
- Humility is when I choose to lift you up instead of me. (More at dictionary.com)
Comparison Verses in the Epistles
Paul, James, and Peter were prominent leaders and Church fathers as the Church was born and fanned out across Asia Minor in the first century. They wrote many letters to the churches they loved, training them in the upside down ways of Jesus. Here are some of their words.
Again, I’ve taken the liberty of adding bold emphasis to the comparison words:
“But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:14-16 ESV
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name.” Philippians 2:3-9
“For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?” I Corinthians 3:3 ESV
“Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.” II Cor. 10:12
“If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Gal. 5:25-26 ESV
“Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment.” Phil. 1:15-17
“If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness, he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.” I Tim. 6:3-5 ESV
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” I Pet. 2:1 ESV
Our measure-up world is filled with me-focus, but Jesus offers us a refuge. He invites you to be part of his kingdom, where there’s no need to exhaust yourself, trying to measure up. And there’s no need to hide the proof that you’ve fallen behind. In Jesus’s kingdom, each of us get to be one of the great ones, because we’re each given a unique way to serve.In Jesus's kingdom, each of us get to be one of the great ones, because we're each given a unique way to serve. Click To Tweet
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