Daily Devotional

Comparing Ourselves with Others

by Simon Whitton

17 "When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death!
18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.
19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.'

Luke 15:17-19 (NIV)

When it comes to comparing ourselves, our lives and our wealth, we have to be really careful, as it can become a huge source of discontentment in our lives.

This scripture is from the incredible story of the prodigal son. The younger son compared his situation to his father's hired men, who appeared to be better off than him. But he did this with a humble heart, saying 'I am no longer worthy to be called your son'. It was this humility that ushered him into the presence of his father, and his father responded by blessing him greatly.

25 "Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing.
26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on.
27 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.'
28 "The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him.
29 But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends.
30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'
31 "'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"

Luke 15:25-32 (NIV)

The older brother compared himself with his younger sibling, and in the process reveals some of the common mistakes of comparison: He promoted himself, criticized his brother, looked down on him, and envied him. The mistake isn't so much who you compare yourself to, it's the attitude of your heart. The elder brother lacked humility; he failed to see others as more important than himself.

This self-importance kept him from his father's presence. His father had to come out to him and point out that everything was already his. His lack of humility kept him from appreciating the immense blessings he already had. Comparing oneself to others without humility, means a life of discontentment.

As children of our heavenly Father we have been given great blessings we don't deserve; blessings that exceed that of even the angels (the hired men). It's alright to compare ourselves with others, as long as it's done with humility, as long as we hold them as more important than ourselves. From such a place we can easily move into God's presence and only blessing can result.

Enter into the Father's presence with humility, and thank Him for the blessings you have as his child. Pray that you would realize the full extent of your inheritance and that it already belongs to you. Pray that you would consider others as more important than yourself.

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