Most people have read, or even used that quote by Theodore Roosevelt “Comparison is the thief of joy’. While it’s a great quote and very powerful, it’s not original (Sorry Theodore Roosevelt) Or perhaps I should say, the principle is not original. It’s taken from the Bible.
2 Corinthians 10:12
“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.”
“Pay close attention to yourselves, so that you are not tempted too. Carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Let each one examine his own work. Then he can take pride in himself and not compare himself with someone else. For each one will carry his own load.”
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
We have an enemy, the devil, the enemy of our soul’s, who constantly tries to do all he can to try to make us feel defeated, discouraged robbed, ‘less than’.
Psalm 23 tells me “The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing” Psalm (23:1 NET)
The devil loves to make us feel we lack in some way. But this is a lie.
Our enemy enjoys it when we start to compare what we have with others and feel we lack in some way. Or when we try to fill our feelings of emptiness with an unhealthy dependence on the esteem and acclaim of others. One of the biggest tools for this is … well let’s just call it ‘Social Media’ – the one most people use, I’m sure you know which one I mean.
Within a few minutes of scrolling through ‘Social Media’ it is so to easy to get caught up in that crazy cycle of comparison; usually concluding that our lives compare unfavourably to the bright and shining examples of the lives splashed across our ‘news feed’.
I’m not suggesting for one moment that there is anything wrong with using Social Media. It can be a very useful tool, if it’s used properly, for connecting people. But it can also be very destructive. After asking around many of my friends, family and social circle over the last few weeks, and simply observing, I have discovered this: Around seventy percent of the people I spoke to told me that they felt lonelier than they had before, after scrolling through Social Media. (Including myself)
Only around 25 percent came away from Social media feeling built up, encouraged and generally better about themselves. A frighteningly huge percentage logged onto Social Media first thing in the morning and last thing at night.
One friend said to me “I’m connected to 374 people on Social Media’ but I still feel so lonely”.
Do you know that the devil is quite predictable in his tactics? This is why Paul was able to say “so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.”
2 Corinthians 2:11 NLT
Even though there was no social media around at the time, he tried similar tactics with Jesus, in the wilderness. The story can be found in Matthew 4:1-11
Jesus had fasted for 40 days and nights. He must have been so hungry. He certainly knew what it felt like to be hungry, thirsty and alone. The devil came to him and put stones in front of him, saying ‘if you’re the son of God, turn these into bread’.
Jesus had willingly given up the splendour of Heaven, to be born in a humble, dirty stable. Having been King of all Kings, he had lived the simple life of a carpenter. The devil also tried to tempt him with worldly wealth and splendour.
Then the enemy reminded him of a power source that surely would have shut the mouths of the skeptics and critics; Surely those who would soon shun him and shame him would instead throw themselves at his feet if he would just utilise this great power available to him! ‘Go on Jesus! Do it, do it! Throw yourself off the pinnacle of the temple!’
Jesus knew what it felt like to be rejected and humbled. Yet in that crucial moment in his reply to the enemy, he taught us by example, our greatest battle tactic “It is written”. He matched every feeling of deprivation, or rejection or abandonment that the devil tried to tempt him with, with the truths of God’s Word. It. Is.Written.
May God’s life giving Word be the first thing we turn to in the morning and before we sleep, rather than ‘Social Media’.
Jill McIlreavy 💜