Compared to Your Brother or Sister...

 
 

If you're like me, sometimes you look to your right and left, size yourself up compared to your other Christian brothers or sisters, and think "You know, compared to them I'm not doing so bad. In fact, I look pretty good when contrasted against their life and behavior." First, this is abominable, prideful thinking, and second, it's erroneous. 

God isn't peering down from Heaven thinking, "Johnny is kind of bad, but at least he's not as bad Norman." That's absurd. We know, if we have even remotely good doctrine, that God can see everything. He sees every motive, every thought, and the condition of soul they came from. He sees genetics, upbringing, mental and physical state, life circumstances. He can take it all into account. So, what I say next should be liberating and challenging all at once.

God isn't comparing you to somebody else.

He knows exactly where you are and can judge accordingly. This is challenging because it means you can't get off the hook saying "well, at least I'm not a serial killer." That won't do. He wants every single part of you surrendered to Him. On this matter He's relentless.

Somewhere along the way, I caught on that God isn't looking for "pretty good" from me. I was always trying work things out in my head so that my performance was at least par. But gee wiz, He's not just after tidy behavior. He's wants all of me. He wants all of you. He knows the things we value, covet, the things that entangle us, and He will continue dealing with us until we're totally free from the world and ourselves. In other words, He's after no less than total surrender.

Now the relief. Because God isn't comparing you to anybody else, He knows your unique struggles. He knows where you've been hurt, and where you're naturally strong. He knows where you're most prone to sin and where you can most readily encourage others. He knows all the specifics. With that in mind, and believing that He's a good Father, wouldn't He be uniquely gracious to each of us? Wouldn't He show us mercy where we're particularly weak? My earthly father knew to treat me and my siblings with special, unique care because of our differences. We're not all wired the same, see, and his parenting reflected that. He knew to change his methods per child, per situation. If we know that God is a far greater father, doesn't it hold that He would parent us uniquely, being soft in certain areas and stern in others?

So, be challenged. God knows every motive and means to have all of you, right down to the core (especially the core). But also breathe in grace. He's a good, helpful, understanding dad.