Message Notes for Better – Part 4
Three things about normal we need to know:
- Normal is the enemy of better.
- Normal is easy.
- Normal isn’t working.
Until we arrive at the conclusion that normal isn’t working, we are destined to keep repeating the same results over and over.
You can’t have the better life you want to live if you keep living the normal life you have been living.
There is something that I believe is a “normal” for a lot of people that we would never admit.
Everywhere we turn we are surrounded by headlines, images, commercials, Facebook posts that are designed to get us to do one thing: compare ourselves to what we are seeing and see if we measure up.
I read where someone said, “Facebook is the place you go when you want to see which of your prayers God answered for someone else.”
I believe comparison is one of the most dangerous things we can do.
We compare everything: our looks, our bodies, our money, our cars, our homes, our clothes… to this standard that someone sets as the appropriate for us.
The comparison trap is nothing new…
Like Dave Ramsey says, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”
When we are talking about our lives being Better and God wants our lives to be Better, we cannot fall into the comparison trap.
My Better and your Better are different.
Don’t make the mistake of beginning to compare your better with someone else’s better.
Many of us know about the Apostle Peter and how great of a man of God he was, but we also know about his flaws: loud, aggressive, at times maybe obnoxious. Could it be that he was hiding a real insecurity that many of us possess? This insecurity went so far as to make Peter deny he even knew the Lord because everyone else was doing it.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – Theodore Roosevelt
John 21:14-22 NLT
(14) This was the third time Jesus had appeared to His disciples since He had been raised from the dead.
(15) After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love Me more than these? ” “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “You know I love You.” “Then feed My lambs,” Jesus told him.
(16) Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “You know I love You.” “Then take care of My sheep,” Jesus said.
(17) A third time He asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, You know everything. You know that I love You.” Jesus said, “Then feed My sheep.
(18) “I tell you the truth, when you were young, you were able to do as you liked; you dressed yourself and went wherever you wanted to go. But when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will dress you and take you where you don’t want to go.”
(19) Jesus said this to let him know by what kind of death he would glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow Me.”
(20) Peter turned around and saw behind them the disciple Jesus loved–the one who had leaned over to Jesus during supper and asked, “Lord, who will betray You?”
(21) Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord?”
(22) Jesus replied, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? As for you, follow Me.”
When we are insecure in who God made us to be, we begin to compare.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steven Furtick
Galatians 6:4-5 MSG
(4) Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others.
(5) Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
2 Corinthians 10:12b MSG
(12) … But in all this comparing and grading and competing, they quite miss the point.
What is the answer to the comparison trap?
Instead of comparing ourselves with others, God has called us to fix our eyes on one person only, Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-3 NLT
(1) Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
(2) We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, He endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now He is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
(3) Think of all the hostility He endured from sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up.
Romans 12:1-2 MSG
(1) So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life–your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life–and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him.
(2) Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Questions to think about:
- Have you lost your joy because of comparison?
- Do you want to get your joy and fire back?
Take time every day to set your focus and attention on Jesus. When you are tempted to compare, set your focus back on Him. Instead of asking everyone and everything around you, “How am I doing?”, direct that question to Jesus.