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Devotional

Comparison in a Concrete Jungle

by GINNY LUPKA COMPARISON Being a woman in ministry Comparison Trust God’s guidance & direction
Comparison in a Concrete Jungle
“Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’”
Hebrews 13:5-6
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
Matthew 6:26
“’The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.’”
Numbers 6:24-26

When I was working in ministry in New York City, I wrestled with comparison more than I ever had. I found myself comparing my slow-growing, minuscule ministry and oddly-scheduled work days with the accomplishments, affluence, and power of the New Yorkers around me. Furthermore, I was living on a fundraised church-mouse salary in one of the most expensive cities in America, trying to embrace the fact that my thrifted wardrobe and cozy (tiny and ragged) IKEA-furnished apartment was the most perfect, loving provision that the Lord could give me in this season of life. 


It was silly, I know. God had given me so much. I had the opportunity to serve in an amazing ministry with beloved teammates, I lived in a sunny apartment with kind roommates, and I had a church family that faithfully poured into my life. 


And yet, I wasn’t content.


After offering up a powerful and convicting charge on how to live a Christian life, the author of Hebrews calls us to keep our lives “free from the love of money and be content with what you have.” Then the author cuts to the root of the problem–we struggle with contentment when we don’t trust in God’s promise that he will never leave or forsake us. 


We aren’t commanded to be content because God just tells us to deal with it, or because other people have it worse in comparison, or because we have no business asking God for anything. Rather, we’re called to be content because we have the love, presence, and provision of our Heavenly Father. Even better, we rejoice because his provision is infinitely better than what we could ever imagine or ask for! 


According to this passage, what my discontentment really reveals about my heart is that I don’t trust that God’s all-knowing, gracious provision is better than what I’m coveting. 


And because of this truth, the author of Hebrews reminds us that we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (verse 6)


Friend, lets confidently remind each other of this truth today.


Closing Prayer
Father God, I confess that I do not trust in your provision and your love. I believe that you are withholding goodness from me when you do not give me what I ask. I am jealous of the blessings that you bestow to other people, and I am discontent with what you have provided for me. Please forgive me, Father. Please bring me back to you. Help me to have a renewed gratitude for the blessings and mercies that you rain upon me. As I cry out for financial provision, physical and mental healing, hope, liberation from addiction, fertility, racial reconciliation, conflict resolution in relationships, social justice, and earthly peace, help me to confidently rejoice in your promise to be our Helper. You are great and awesome, Lord, and we love you. We trust that you are in control and that you love your creation. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Resources
Podcast: The Appeal and Danger of Comparison by Nancy Guthrie, Jen Wilkin, and Jackie Hill Perry of The Gospel Coalition These ladies are some of my favorite Bible teachers, and I found their discussion deeply relatable, convicting, and ultimately very encouraging. I hope it serves you well!
Question for Reflection

Is there an area of your life where you’re struggling with comparison? Should you repent of any discontentment or jealousy? How could the concept of the Lord as your helper help you to grow in contentment and peace?

Comments
Ginny Lupka
June 07, 2021

I am always struggling with some toxic combination of comparison, discontentment, jealousy, and Imposter Syndrome. Someone will always have a prettier home than me, a more stylish wardrobe, clearer skin, a more successful career, a more eloquent writing style, a clearer and more confident stance on social and political issues. I absolutely need to continually confess this struggle of comparison and discontentment to the Lord. The fact that he is my helper–that he is near to me, sees my struggles, and still loves me–deeply helps me breathe deeply. He doesn’t dismiss me as petty and immature. He draws near to me and helps me learn and grow. He promises to provide exactly what I need and to ultimately make me more like Jesus, and I am so grateful.


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