Cup of Faith - South African Christian Women Network

The Trap of Comparison

While scrolling through the timeline of one of my favourite celebs, I had a little shock: she was born in the same year as me! Even though she looked my age, I just never realized it, because … well… she had her life together. She was literally living the life that I had planned for myself; She married the love of her life at 25 and was now nursing her first child right at the age that I had planned to have mine.

I quickly rebuked my thoughts. After God had so many times warned me about comparing myself to others, how was I here, again? I knew very well comparison was the thief of joy, yet here I was, willingly opening the door for the thief. God then graciously led this slow learner of his to 1 Samuel 8 to learn, yet again, about the trap comparison was.

So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. They said to him, ‘You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us such as all the other nations have.1 Samuel 8:4-5

I believe there was nothing wrong with asking for a king, after all, God had intended to give them David as their king, but what was wrong is that they wanted a king because the other nations had one. They wanted a king so they would be like the others, so they’d fit in, which meant that they had compared themselves to those other nations, and wanted what they thought they didn’t have.

That’s the thing with comparison, it blinds us and stops us from seeing what you already have. The Israelites had a king in God. That’s why God told Samuel that the Israelites had rejected him as their king in their request. God was the one who lead them, the one who went out before them and fought their battles. But they were blinded, by their obsession to have what others had.

In their obsession, they were also blinded by the consequences of having a human king. They were looking at the grass that was greener on the other side, not knowing the hours of labour that went into keeping it green. God, in his kindness, warned them of such things.

He said, ‘This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plough his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 1 Samuel 8:11-12

These were all things Israel didn’t have to worry about with God as their king. All Israel had to do when they were faced with a nation waging war against them was to pray to God and He would give them clear instructions on what needed to be done. They didn’t really have to worry about horses, chariots and weapons as God would give them victory in the most unconventional ways; just like the time they were led to war by Gideon, only having trumpets, empty jars and torches in their hands.

God goes on to tell them about things they would lose as a result of having a king.
He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use.1 Samuel 8:13-16

They would lose relationships, their inheritance and even resources they used to secure provision for themselves. All of this, just because they wanted something someone else had.

This is the trap we land ourselves in when we fail to be content with what we have and instead covet after what others have. We lose what we already had in the process. It might not always be something tangible like in the case of the Israelites, but we might lose our peace and joy in the process of chasing after what others have.

So, I might not have a loving husband and precious daughter (yet), but I have so much to be grateful for. I have my independence, the opportunity to further my studies, a loving and supportive family, irreplaceable friends, and a vocation and job I love.

So ladies, as you scroll, like and share this week, avoid the trap. Be happy for others without wanting what they have, and don’t forget to count your blessings while you’re there!

You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.Exodus 20:17

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