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Have you heard the saying, “Comparison is the thief of joy”? It seems to be a saying that I
repeat regularly as I have noticed, as humans, we tend to compare ourselves to others a lot!
God has been taking me on a journey to stop comparing myself to others and to become
more content – particularly in the area of finances, but in other ways too. He has been
teaching me to simply be joyful in Him, no matter what else is going on in my life.
Comparing ourselves to others is such damaging behaviour, yet it is a dominant feature of
our modern culture. Advertising campaigns, social media, and our own discontented hearts
lead us to want more, to be more. It is in these times that we lose our joy, and we grow in
discontentment of ourselves and our lives.

As if losing our joy isn’t bad enough, comparing ourselves to others also leads us to sin. I
want to look at two of those sins – envy and pride.

Envy – painful or resentful awareness of an advantage enjoyed by another, joined with a
desire to possess the same advantage (merriam-webster.com).
Pride – the feeling that you are better or more important than others
(dictionary.cambridge.org).

Comparing yourself can go two ways – either you want what the other person has (eg
material possessions, marital status, talents, career, etc); or you can think you are better
then someone else because of the things that you have; or you feel content in yourself for
what you have achieved.


In other words, you envy someone, or you are filled with pride. So, comparison isn’t just
losing your joy, it’s causing sin to come into your life too.


I can’t begin to tell you, even with the short distance I have traveled on this journey so far,
how good it feels to have even a hint of contentment. The futility in so much of what I was
looking at as a goal, now confuses me as to why I was wasting my energy on it. The more I
recognise how good contentment is, the more it makes me want to strive for it.

The title of this blog mentions an equation. This equation simplifies what is actually a very
real struggle for most of us. Hopefully, though, it is something you can ponder, recognising
that our joy only comes from the Lord, not from anything we have here in this life:
COMPARISON = ENVY + PRIDE – JOY
In closing, I want to leave you with the words of Paul. My prayer is that each of us can learn
to be contented just as Paul wrote:

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I
know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in
every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.”

Philippians 4:11-12

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