#037: Living in Freedom in a Comparison-Prone World
As a visual person, I love getting on Instagram and Pinterest and seeing all these beautiful things, whether it's how they have decorated their living space or how people dress and style their outfits.
Admiring the creative skills of other people is great. God is a creative God. But when all we see on social media seems to be the good, glamorous, and shiny side of life, it can be so easy to start comparing ourselves to those people we follow on social media.
We can become bitter, discontent or even depressed when we don't feel like we measure up to what we see around us.
But why are we trapped in comparisons when Christ has set us free from that?
What does Christ set us free from?
Before we get into how we can live in freedom, let's look at what Christ has set us free from.
We compare because our pride wants to raise ourselves up and be better than other people.
It feeds our ego when we are better looking, have bigger and greater houses and have better lives than other people.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis says, "Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next person. We say that people are proud of being rich, or clever, or good-looking, but they are not. They are proud of being richer, or cleverer, or better-looking than others. If everyone else became equally rich, or clever, or good-looking there would be nothing to be proud about."
We compare because our pride wants to know we're better off than other people.
So now what do we do? How do we get rid of this pride?
We get rid of this pride when we turn our eyes from ourselves to God.
God doesn't care if you have white cabinets and subway tiles in your kitchen.
He doesn't care if your Instagram posts have more likes than the other gal.
What He cares about He has already sent Jesus to die for.
Ever since the beginning, we see God giving us atonement for our sin.
Ever since the beginning, He'd wanted to mend our broken relationship with Him.
After Adam and Eve sinned, it says in Genesis 3:21, "And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them."
Garments of skins. What were their clothes made out of? Skins.
Whose skins? Pretty sure not Adam and Eve's.
Skins of the animals that God had created.
Why did God kill an animal to make clothes out of the skin?
Romans 6:23 explains it, "For the wages of sin is death."
Death follows sin.
It is the consequence of sin - it doesn't matter how big or small the sin may seem in our eyes.
A sin is a sin, and death must follow.
Adam and Eve sinned, that means they must die.
But that's not what God did.
If God had killed Adam and Eve right then and there, Adam and Eve would be in hell even to this day, and we're probably not gonna be here.
But God loved Adam and Eve. He loved His creation.
So He sacrificed an animal to die in their place so they wouldn't go to hell.
In Exodus 12, when the land of Egypt was about to get the Lord's judgment, God kept the Israelites safe by sacrificing perfect lambs to die in the place of the Israelites. That night, the Lord struck all the firstborns in Egypt and spared the ones born of the Israelites. Instead of death, they were granted life and freedom from slavery.
A New Way
We are Adam and Eve. We are the Israelites who should have gotten the consequence of sin but God was like, "oh no, I love you too much to let you rot in hell."
So two thousand years ago, God sacrificed His very own Perfect Lamb, Jesus.
Jesus did not commit any sins.
He was perfect in every way and He willingly died a gruesome death in our place so that going to hell wouldn't be our only option as sinners. We now have a new way that leads to life, forgiveness, and freedom.
The moment Jesus died, He died with our pride.
He killed it so we could be freed from it.
Matthew Henry says that "we owe this liberty to Jesus Christ. It is he who has made us free; by his merits he has satisfied the demands of the broken law, and by his authority as a king he has discharged us from the obligation of those carnal ordinances which were imposed on the Jews."
So why we are still looking around to see who's prettier, who's got more likes, and who's got more followers? We don't have to go back to our old ways of comparing ourselves. We have been freed from it so let's live out our freedom!
These things have no weight in the Kingdom of God. They amount to nothing.
What God cares about is our eternal salvation which has been settled in Jesus.
Because of Jesus' sacrifice, we have been given a new identity.
We are of one body in Christ. We have different functions but we have the same value in God's eyes.
Instead of comparing ourselves to one another, we can live in freedom that we are all valued the same by God and our one united goal is to give Him glory as a body of Christ.
So what are you going to do this week to bring Him glory as you rejoice in your freedom?
1) What are your God-given gifts/talents you can use to bless and serve other members in the body of Christ? Commit to making it happen this week. (If you don't know what you can do, I have a blog post here that gives you 10 practical and budget-friendly ideas to bless your community.)
2) If comparison is a long-standing struggle for you, initiate radical change by taking away the temptations that lead you to sin. If you struggle with comparing your body to another woman, don't look at fashion magazines. Unsubscribe them if you have them delivered to your house. If you have a hard time scrolling through Instagram without feeling of discontent, take the app off of your phone and grow in your faith first. Do what you must to live in your freedom and not return to your old days.