Conquering Comparison

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This devotional is written by Matt Coombs. Matt is one of the leaders at St Mary's.

1 Samuel 18:1-9

Saul's Growing Fear of David

18 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself. 2 From that day Saul kept David with him and did not let him return home to his family. 3 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.

5 Whatever mission Saul sent him on, David was so successful that Saul gave him a high rank in the army. This pleased all the troops, and Saul's officers as well.

6 When the men were returning home after David had killed the Philistine, the women came out from all the towns of Israel to meet King Saul with singing and dancing, with joyful songs and with timbrels and lyres. 7 As they danced, they sang:

"Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands."

8 Saul was very angry; this refrain displeased him greatly. "They have credited David with tens of thousands," he thought, "but me with only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?" 9 And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David.

Reflection

This short account shows the relationship between King Saul, his son Jonathan and David who has been anointed to be king by the prophet Samuel. David is rising through the ranks in Saul's army, and when they return home the people are singing songs of their victories over their enemies. They sing: "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." (7) Saul is understandably annoyed about this because everyone is comparing his role in the battle with David's. And from that time on Saul kept a close eye on David. (9).

Comparison takes our attention away from God or the race we're running and places it on other people.

It's so easy to do this. In the past our parents and grandparents will have experienced comparison with their siblings, or friends at school, but mainly from a small pool of people. Social media has blasted this out and has led us to compare ourselves with the people who are the top in their field. I might think I'm a really good cook, or actor, or footballer, or [Fill in the gap here] until I see this person on my feed who is so far ahead of me.

If I'm in a bad place, what happens when I'm comparing myself is I can't seem to stop thinking about it. It's like a song playing in my head on a loop saying: "You're not good enough, you're not clever enough, you are not enough." Because, compared to these people, I am not.

The way we battle comparison is we change the song that is on loop. We take our eyes away from 'our competition' and fix it upon God and how he sees us.

The beginning of Paul's letter to the Ephesians is a prayer of praise to God. It is filled with truths about who we are as Christians, and everything we have in Jesus. I've made a few changes, pray this prayer over yourself today.

Ephesians 1

3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed [Your name] in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4 For he chose [Your name] in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love 5 he predestined [Your name] for adoption to his family through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given [Your name] in the One he loves. 7 In him [Your name] has redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished on [Your name]. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he made known to [Your name] the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfilment--to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ. 11 In him [Your name] was also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to put our hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When [Your name] believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

Amen?

Fix your eyes upon Jesus, in whom you have been richly blessed. Run your race. You are enough.

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