I listened to their conversations. They were different women from different generations, but there was a common theme. The college student who feels like everyone is having a better college experience, the soon-to-be bride who feels like everyone is having a better engagement, and the mother who feels like everyone is handling motherhood better. The pattern is easy to identify in these conversations and I’m curious how you would fill in the “I feel like everyone is a better __________ than me” statement?
I could complete it in hundreds of ways. We are so tempted to doubt our value and compare ourselves to one another, aren’t we? We look to the left and to the right and think everyone is a better wife or a better friend, has a better home or a better body, is a better employee, or is even a better Christian. We falsely perceive perfection in others when they too may feel equally inadequate.
No matter how you fill in the blank, Jesus says there is no comparison to you. He loves you exactly the way you are. There is not worth in what you do and how you perform, but simply for who you are — the daughter of the King.
We witness a woman in the gospel of Mark fight this age-old battle. We enter the scene in Mark chapter 14 as she anoints Jesus’s head with perfume. Everyone around her compares the value of her offering to their offering. At that moment I imagine she doubted her worth and what she had to give. But Jesus responded, “She has done a beautiful thing. She did what she could” (Mark 14:8).
That is all Jesus asks of us. He doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but simply asks we do what we can with what he has given us.
I wonder why we question and vie for our worth when the truth is so clearly stated in the word. We have to look no further than Genesis to discover God created us in his image. Seeing all he had made, he said it was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Eden and all of God’s creation was perfect in the beginning; then Satan came along. Satan tempted Eve to believe something was better than what she already had (Genesis 3:1).
We fall into the same trap when we dwell on what we lack, rather than focusing on what we have. Satan wants to divert our attention because it causes us to doubt, become discouraged, and feel defeated. But we were made to live victoriously, not as victims. When we are tempted to compare, we should divert our attention to Jesus instead.
As we do, we can lead our comparisons away from envy, insecurity, and self-pity and toward Christ-like imitation. Rather than aspiring to be someone or something different, we should aspire to be like Jesus.
We cannot perfect ourselves. Only God can do that. It is through his death and resurrection we are made perfect (Hebrews 10:14). This is the basis of our Christian faith. It is grounded on what he has done, not what we can do for him (Ephesians 2:8). But because he has set eternity in our hearts, this restless pursuit for perfection can actually motivate us to pursue him, the only one who is perfect (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
The word “perfect” in scripture means mature and complete, not flawless. In this life, we cannot be flawless. We need to free ourselves from that pressure. The Christian life is a process of becoming more Christ-like, not like everyone else. Rather than looking to the left and to the right, we must keep our eyes fixed on him as we continue to grow and mature in the faith.
This sanctification process will not be complete until we see Jesus face-to-face (Philippians 1:6). On that day all the things of this world will fade away. We will realize there is no better life than one lived for Jesus and no comparison to his glory. It will be better than anything we’ve ever experienced or imagined (Revelation 21).
It will be perfect.