We are always told that we should never compare ourselves to others; the only person we should compare ourselves to is the person we were yesterday. I do believe in the latter statement. However, there is someone we should constantly be comparing ourselves to. We are not comparing who is better looking or who is stronger. We are comparing our actions, words, and way of life. There is only one we should be comparing ourselves to: Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “We are all sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23a). This is why we cannot compare ourselves to each other. Each of us fails to live a good life. We all struggle in our own ways, and comparing ourselves to each other is like the blind leading the blind. This means we need someone who has shown us how to live and what it looks like to live right. Only one individual has given us this example and even stated, “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you” (John 13:15). Jesus Christ is our example. It is He alone that we should be comparing ourselves to.
We should ask ourselves: “How do my actions compare to those of Christ? How do my words compare to those of Christ? How does my way of thinking compare to that of Christ? How does my submission to YHWH compare to how Christ submitted to His Father?” These are what we should be comparing ourselves to. The Apostle Paul states in his letter to the Ephesians, “Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:1-2). Jesus Christ is the ultimate example of how we should be living.
The Apostle Peter wrote, “Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at His coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:13-16). How can we know what holy is if we never compare our ways of living to the One who is holy? The Apostle John wrote, “Whoever says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did” (1 John 2:4-6).
Our daily living should be compared to how Jesus Christ lived his life. Do we love as He loved? Are we willing to sacrifice for others? Do we spend time in prayer alone with YHWH? Are we willing to follow in His footsteps and do what He has commanded? If we can say yes to that, we should constantly compare our life to His.
We will not always get it right. Referring back to the Apostle Paul again, “We have all sinned and have fallen short of the Glory of God.” This doesn’t give us an excuse to stop trying. Instead, it should spur us on to “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12a). This is why Paul also writes, “Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed – not only in my presence but now much more in my absence – continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act to fulfill His good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13). And again, Paul writes to the Corinthians, “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. Therefore, I do not run aimlessly or fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25a, 26-27).
Those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord of our lives are still called to strive to be like Him. This means we should be in constant reflection of who we are, what we do, and what we say as compared to Christ. The beauty of being in Christ is that when we fail at being like Him, He sustains us and allows us to try again. The curse of sin keeps us from succeeding 100% of the time. As the Apostle James wrote, “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check” (James 3:2). This is the curse of sin on humanity, and this is why Jesus needed to come and die. He gave us an example of who we should have been before the fall of man.
We must always be in reflection on how we live our lives. As the Psalmist writes, “I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways” (Psalms 119:15). To be more like Christ, we must study and learn His ways. The disciples lived lives that mirrored Christ’s because they were with Him, followed Him, and watched Him. Jesus might not be physically present, but He is with us through the Holy Spirit. We have a written record of His life from four dynamically different perspectives. To be like Christ, we must study, seek, and pursue Him. As Jesus Christ said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Unless we fervently seek after Jesus, we will never know how we should live our lives.
Do not compare your life to those around you. Compare your life to the only One who gave us the perfect example of how we should live. If you are unsure what Christ’s life was like, I encourage you to grab a Bible and read John. This is a significant first step to understanding what your life should look like. If you are like me and accepted Christ when you were young but have neglected your relationship with Him and forgotten what living for Him looks like, I encourage you to grab your Bible and reread it. Dive into the extraordinary story of Jesus, the disciples, the Apostle Paul, David, and many others. Go back to what you once knew and relearn the amazing lessons and convictions of our amazing God! It’s never too late to redirect our focus back to Christ. If we still have breath in our lungs, God is giving us another opportunity to live for Him and be like Him.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1-2).