“Biblical Counseling: The Danger of Comparison” 12/03/2017 Written by Pastor Jim Lee for “THE DOMAIN FOR TRUTH”

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Written by Pastor Jim Lee for “The Domain for Truth” @  https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com

Original post @  https://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/biblical-counseling-the-danger-of-comparison/#comment-56374

 

Biblical Counseling: The Danger of Comparison

The Danger of Comparison

Selected Scriptures

 

Establish the need: Have you recently been shackled and miserable in comparing yourself to others?

Purpose: Today we shall look at four points to help us think more biblically about comparison of others so that we would think biblically and also have the grace of God to deal with ungodly comparison.

  1. Scripture talks about the problem of comparison

  2. Beware of thinking all comparison is bad

  3. Know the kinds of comparisons that are dangerous

  4. Fight ungodly comparison biblically

I. Scripture talks about the problem of comparison

  1. Point: Not all comparison with others are godly.

  2. Proof

    1. For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

      1. Note here Paul says that he is not bold to compare himself with others.

      2. Specifically the other people who he does not want to compare himself with others are “those who commend themselves

    2. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.” (Luke 18:11)

      1. This is a parable Jesus told.

      2. The Pharisee of course has problems in this parable.

      3. Among the Pharisee problem is an ungodly comparison where the Pharisee in comparing himself with the tax-collector thought of himself as self-righteous before the Lord.

  3. Practice:

    1. We need to see that not all comparison is godly.

    2. Even as we go through this study, ask yourself if there is any ungodly comparison you might be making in our life.

    3. We need to be honest with ourselves before God: Do we have any problem of comparison with others that might not be godly?

II. Beware of thinking all comparison is bad

  1. Point: Of course seeing the examples of others does involve comparison. But when we talk about the danger of comparison this does not mean there is no place of seeing the examples of others.  We must avoid heading towards the other extreme of thinking all comparison is bad.

  2. Proof #1: There is a place for godly examples of others that are meant to be encouraging

    1. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi: “Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us.” (Philippians 3:17)

      1. Paul wants the church to follow his example.

      2. Paul also want the believers to remember their observation of Paul and others’ lives.

      3. Note also Paul’s life was to be a “”

    2. Paul wrote to the church in Philippi: “For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you,” (2 Thessalonians 3:7)

      1. Note Paul doesn’t just say to follow his example here but that the church themselves “know how you ought to follow our example” which reinforce the point that following examples is a part of a Christian life and obligatory one at that.

      2. Paul’s specific example along with his missionary team is that they “did not act in an undisciplined manner

    3. Other passages that talk about following and being encouraged by godly examples in a positive light: John 13:15, 1 Thessalonians 1:7, 2 Thessalonians 3:9, 1 Timothy 4::12, Titus 2:7, James 5:10, 1 Peter 5:3.

  3. Proof #2: There is a place for even ungodly examples of others that are meant to discourage to sin

    1. Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” (1 Corinthians 10:6)

      1. In the context Paul was referring to Old Testament events in which God judged Israel for their sins.

      2. Here Paul said these were “examples for us

      3. What is the purpose of these examples? “so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.

    2. just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)

      1. Here Sodom and Gomorrah is discussed.

      2. Jude tells us that their destruction “are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.

    3. Other passages that show the role of negative example for the Christian life to motivate Christians to avoid sin: 1 Corinthians 10:11, Hebrews 4:11 and 2 Peter 2:6 .

  4. Practice:

    1. Does seeing the godly examples of others become enrouagement and a pattern for you to be godly?

    2. Does seeing God’s example of judgment against sin motivate you to forsake sin?

III. Know the kinds of comparisons that are dangerous

  1. Point: Here we want to know what kinds of comparisons are dangerous by looking at its motivation and fruits.

  2. Proof

    1. It is dangerous when we compare ourselves to others and the results is that we are robbed of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

      1. Note the fruit of the Spirit is the fruit of God’s Work in our life, specifically that of the Holy Spirit.

      2. If your comparison with yourself to others result in the absence of love, joy and peace in the Lord, it does not please God.

    2. It is dangerous when we compare ourselves to others out of the motivation of fearing man and/or desire to please man: “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

      1. Here the problem Paul mentioned is the problem of trying to “please men;” note “please men” is mentioned twice in this verse.

      2. Sometimes the reason why we engage in comparison is because we are fear men or are trying to please them.

      3. For example: We do what everyone is doing in our neighborhood in raising children just because “everyone is doing it” and you don’t want others to think badly about you.

    3. It is dangerous when we compare ourselves to others and the results is we covet: ““You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (Exodus 20:17)

      1. Note here that this is part of the Ten Commandments.

      2. If our comparison leads us to want to have something someone else have and it makes us want to acquire it inappropriately, such as stealing, or having something we should not have that is of the other person, we are in sin.

    4. It is dangerous when we compare ourselves with others and the results is envy and jealousy: “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth.” (James 3:14)

      1. Note here that James describe negatively “bitter jealousy

      2. Jealousy/Envy is similar to coveting but there is also a distinction between the two.

      3. If our comparison leads us to envying others, that is wanting something someone else have but being bitter that we do not have it, and/or we start thinking wrongly of the other person, we are in sin.

      4. Note also how James noted there’s a dimension of pride when it comes to jealousy when he said “do not be arrogant.” That is because behind the thought of envy and ungodly jealousy is the thought “I deserve ___,” or “I should be good enough for ____.”

    5. It is dangerous when we compare ourselves with others and the results is self-righteousness: Recall the purpose of the parable of the Pharisee who compared himself with the tax collector: “And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:” (Luke 18:9)

      1. Here we see the problem is that the comparison is driven by self-righteousness.

      2. The result of course is the view of contempt towards others.

      3. We must remember when we have ungodly comparison of ourselves with others and we are below others, we feel miserable. But when we have an ungodly comparison with others and we are above them, or “lead the pack,” we can self-deceive ourselves we have no room for growth according to God’s standard, or are blind to other areas we need to grow.

    6. It is dangerous when we compare ourselves to those who set themselves as the standard: “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with [a]some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding.” (2 Corinthians 10:12)

      1. We earlier saw that this verse goes against some form of comparison.

      2. Here specifically the kind of comparison that is not approved is when we ourselves to those who “measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves

      3. That is, their standard is to put themselves as the standard.

      4. Those who practice this kind of comparison are described by Paul as “without understanding

      5. Remember the standard we are to pursue is not others, but God’s Word.

  3. Picture: The Fruits of ungodly comparison in marriage and family.

    1. The Husband and Wife:

      1. Discontent with one’s marriage: He or she’s might catch himself/herself saying: “Other wife/husbands do ___, but you don’t!”

      2. Quarrels with spouse; thoughts of ungodly comparison manifest itself in arguing with one spouse.

      3. Emotional and Physical Infidelity

      4. Apathy

    2. Parenting:

      1. The child have no understanding of grace: Everyone is always better and the goal is all about works to be better than someone else.

      2. The child is exasperated: The fact is there is always someone who will always be better than the child; it makes the child feel hopeless.

      3. The child rebels: Other fruits follow from hopelessness. The child questions whether the parents love them and love them only on the basis of works; having failed, they abandon their love of their parents and see the parents’ authority as tyrannical.  Thus they bear fruit of rebellion.

      4. The Child has a warped view of God: Fathers mirror God the Father; having train them in ungodly comparison to the standards of man, there is no transcendent standard of God’s Word, nor of the right view of grace and works.

  4. Practice

    1. How do you know you have the right and wrong kind of comparison?

      1. Review the teachings in this section.

      2. As a rule of thumb: Does your comparison with others bring about more sins in your life or draw you closer to the Lord?

    2. We must be watchful of our lives and heart from the danger of ungodly comparison.

IV. Fight ungodly comparison biblically

  1. Point: How do we fight the sin of ungodly comparison?

  2. Principles

    1. Principle 1: Humble yourself before Lord: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4:10)

      1. We must not forget that often there is a dimension of pride behind our comparison of ourselves to others.

      2. The antidote to pride is humbling ourselves before the Lord.

    2. Principle 2: Confess and Repent of any sins: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

      1. From principle 2 we see we must humble ourselves and that manifestation includes confessing and repenting to the Lord.

      2. Note if we confess to God He forgives!

      3. Note also He cleanse us when we go to Him! He can cleanse us and break the chains of ungodly comparison in our minds!

    3. Principle 3: Resolve that all that you do be driven by God-centered motivation rather than man-centered motivation. Recall: “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

      1. We ultimately want to please God instead of man!

      2. Desiring to please God first frees us from many ungodly comparison with others!

    4. Principle 4: Resolve that your standard is ultimately God’s Word and not just other people

      1. The standard is not merely others; the standard is God’s Word!

      2. Being focus on God’s Word as the standard frees us from only comparing ourselves to others. Also God is gracious to work in us if we are saved!

    5. Principle 5: Substitute thanksgiving and praise to God instead of the ungodly fruit of comparison

      1. Thanksgiving and praise to God cannot coexists with envy, jealousy and covetousness; so praise God and give thanks to God!

      2. Have a weekly inventory of what you are thankful to God for.

      3. Share to others including your wife and kids what you are thankful for.

      4. If you struggle to be thankful resolve to study the Gospel deeply to see the riches we have in Christ! Study the doctrines related to the Gospel deeply such as the order of salvation.  Read with a good commentary on Ephesians!  See what grace and inheritance have been given to you in Christ!

*******************************************************************************

P.S. (from bruce)  ) If you’re not a “born again” Christian, is the Holy Spirit urging you to open this link ??  Here is the truth for this most important days writing, about how God’s grace is received to become a Christian in God’s eyes; through understanding and obeying the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ…    https://godsmanforever.com/2014/10/26/the-truth-about-sin-10262014-by-bruce-reposted-from-7112013/

To my brothers and sisters in Christ, please feel free to share this message of the cross with those in need…

 

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About Godsmanforever

I present posts about God's Word, with a personal focus on how God's grace is received through saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ... Sinners must understand and obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ... See this link for more... https://godsmanforever.com/2014/10/26/the-truth-about-sin-10262014-by-bruce-reposted-from-7112013/
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