This is an excerpt from the upcoming book, Successful Growth, Successful You by Sharman J. Monroe:
Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function].
1 Corinthians 12:27 (AMP)
God purposely did not make any two people exactly the same. Although some people may have things in common (physical attributes, interests, behavior, likes and dislikes), they are not exactly the same. Identical twins are not exactly alike. God made you in His image and likeness, and gave you the skills and talents He wanted you to use to glorify Him (Genesis 1:27). It says in His Word:
All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.
1 Corinthians 12:11 (AMP)
God knew exactly what He was doing when He made you the way you are; He didn’t make any mistakes (Psalm 139:13-18). You are a unique individual. You are a masterpiece created to do good things (Ephesians 2:10). You are complete and whole in Christ (James 1:4).
You live in a society where comparing one person to another is expected. However, God doesn’t want you to compare yourself with anyone else. The Bible clearly states:
There should be no division or discord or lack of adaptation [of the parts of the body to each other], but the members all alike should have a mutual interest in and care for one another.
1 Corinthians 12:25 (AMP)
When comparisons are made, one person always comes up “lacking” and if you’re comparing yourself to someone else, you will usually find something lacking in yourself. Comparisons stir up rivalry, discontent, jealousy, envy, mistrust, hatred and the like. None of these feelings are the product of a God-centered life. A person living a God-centered life displays the fruit of the Holy Spirit which are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:19-26). Recently, my pastor made an eye-opening statement about comparisons. He said we are all imperfect because we all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God so why compare yourself to imperfection (Romans 3:23). Instead, he said, you should stop worrying about what someone else has or does and focus on Jesus, your model of godly perfection. When Peter asked Jesus what would happen to another apostle, Jesus told him:
If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.
John 21:22 (NKJV)
Likewise, the apostle Paul admonished believers not to compare themselves to another:
But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.
1 Thessalonians 4:10-11 (NJKV)
In other words, your focus must be on what God ordains for you to be and to do, not on what He ordains for someone else. Proverbs 27:8 (NKJV) says:
Like a bird that wanders from its nest, is a man who wanders from his place.
In his nest, or home, a bird gets nourishment and rest; it’s a safe place where he regains his strength so he can go out and do more. However, when he goes astray, or wanders from the nest, he won’t reach a safe place getting what he needs to continue. Similarly, God is your source for nourishment and rest. He is your safe place and as long as you follow His direction for your life, God will strengthen you so you can go and do more. But when you go astray, following God’s path for someone else’s life, you are not in a safe place for you and God won’t strengthen you to do more.
While you aren’t to compare yourself with another person, there is nothing wrong with admiring a godly person and then learning from that person and copying his or her godly behavior. God wants us to be examples to one another. Just don’t waste your time measuring yourself against that person as if he or she is the standard. Jesus is your standard and you are to follow Him.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, God wants you to complement others. To complement means to complete or enhance others or a project by providing something additional. 1 Corinthians 12: 6-7 (NKJV) teaches:
There are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all.
How do you complement others? First and foremost, stop focusing on what someone has or does that you don’t have or do. There is no need to worry that God won’t help you, won’t give you what you need or run out of anything you will need. 2 Corinthians 9:8 says:
And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Second, focus on God and the gifts and talents He gave you. He gave them to you for a reason – to be used to bring Him glory. Use what you have and God will usher you into the things He has for you.
Third, challenge yourself to find ways to use your gifts and talents whenever you are working another individual or a group. Don’t wait to be asked. Step up and volunteer in an area in which you have a talent. When you pool your talents with another, when you complement another, miraculous things will happen.
One of the reasons it took me so long to complete this book was I was comparing myself to other authors. I compared myself to authors who had been writing for years and were on the New York Times Best Seller list. I compared myself to my friends who had already published a book. When I compared myself, of course, I came up short: “I’m taking too much time to write this book; it shouldn’t be this time-consuming” “My book isn’t long enough.” “My book isn’t saying anything new” “I don’t have the ‘right’ credentials to write this book” “I have no concept for a book cover design”. The more I compared myself, the less I desired to write this book. During the time I was working on this book I continued to do my daily personal growth reading. In her book, The Resolution for Women, Patricia Shirer tells of a young lady who wrote to her because she was concerned about her writing style and comparing herself to other authors. Ms. Shirer responded in this way: “some readers will only hear, understand, and accept certain things when they read it in your words, from your perspective, written in your voice … some, somewhere needs you”. The words struck a chord in me. I remembered God telling me I will write about personal growth from His point of view and knew I had the ‘right’ credentials – God. I remembered the new revelations I received about scriptures I had read many times, revelations I never had and never heard anyone speak about before and knew my book will say something new. I remembered how calm and peaceful I felt when I was working on my book and knew my book would bring glory to God. And I stopped comparing myself to others.
Question for Comment: Do you compare yourself to others? Does it leave you feeling good or bad about yourself? What, if anything, will you do to change your behavior?