One Question from Jesus Can Help You Not Compare Yourself with Others

What to do when other lives seem better than yours.

Someone else’s stuff always seems better than ours. Have you noticed? Even their struggles seem better. The temptation to compare yourself with somebody else can be devastating in the Christian life.

What Helps You Not Compare Yourself with Others

(Photo: By Michael Johnson, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

When Peter first met Jesus, the fisherman followed the Master out of a motive for glory and a prime seat in the kingdom of God. Peter wanted to be the “greatest” in comparison to others. But after Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, a single conversation along the shores of the Sea of Galilee at Tabgha changed Peter’s whole frame of reference.

That conversation can also help you not compare yourself with the lives of others.

It can free you to follow Jesus as an individual.

Compare Yourself to Peter (and See Yourself)

Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Of course, Peter affirmed his love for Christ. Then Jesus looked far into Peter’s future and revealed what Peter’s love would cost him:

When you were younger you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go. —John 21:18

In other words, Jesus told Peter that he would die a martyr’s death—ironically, the very thing Peter had feared when he denied Jesus.

Jesus reminded the apostle of their beginnings together by saying something He had said years ago along these same shores (Mark 1:17; John 21:19).

“Follow Me!” Sounds simple. But then Peter asked a question.

Shores of Tabgha, beside the Sea of Galilee

(Photo: Shores of Tabgha, beside the Sea of Galilee)

The Knee-Jerk Reaction to Compare Yourself

Peter noticed John walking behind them. “Lord, and what about this man?” (John 21:21). Having learned of his own violent death, Peter inquired how John would die. Torture? Crucifixion? Come on, Lord, You can tell me!

Peter still struggled with comparisons. Jesus’ response brought Peter’s priorities back into perspective. “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” Then Jesus repeated the command, with a particular emphasis, “You follow Me!” (John 21:22). Just as we reveal our love for Jesus by serving others, so we should serve without comparing ourselves to others.

But how?

The “Compare Yourself” Cure

Someone else’s calling or cross always seems a better deal than yours. Compare yourself with him or her and you will react with envy, discouragement, or depression.

But answer Jesus’ question, “What is that to you?”

  • Jesus died for all of us at once; but we enter a relationship with Him as individuals: “You follow Me!”
  • The bottom line? Comparison stems from either coveting or pride and smacks of basic ingratitude to God.

The Lord reminded Peter what all believers should remember:

And the motivation for such devotion? Jesus answered that with a question.

“Do you truly love Me?”

Question: What’s your advice to help someone who is struggling with comparisons? To leave a comment, just click here.


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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus: A Journey Through the Lands and Lessons of Christ.

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  • Jim Schierling

    I just login on to your blog and was successful. Thank you. Hope to hear you teach at Marithon.

    • Thanks, Jim! I plan to teach the class on Palm Sunday. Hope you can make it!

  • Ty Crandall

    This teaching of today is of Peter before the Holy Spirit was given. How applicable that one can lead a horse to water, but one can’t make the horse drink, although one can hold the horse’s head below the water and drown it. Free will is a precious gift, where God started democracy in the first sense. Our choice to be able to sign up for His guiding and leading in our lives, His Words to Peter, ‘you follow me’, came alive with the giving of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Looking at the apostles’ lives before the Holy Spirit was given even with Jesus in their mist and then after is like seeing two different people, just like every person has that choice in freely drinking the water at the tree of life. The apostles’ ending of their lives was pretty good and one I hope, and hope in the Christian language is a surety in Jesus, will follow. Being carriers of the Holy of Holies in our hearts as God’s adopted child, is a privilege not to miss, yet many will. And even being carriers we may never get off the bench and into the game. There is lots of fun in the game of life along with its challenges. I would say the greatest ministry one can have is being yoked to Jesus Christ and following His lead inspired by the Holy Spirit in taking each day as it comes in whatever walk of life that the Godhead spoke into one’s DNA at our creation. Thanks for sharing.

    • That’s a great point, Ty. Indeed the Holy Spirit offers us both the urging and the empowering to do what we couldn’t do without Him. I find it interesting that His empowerment still comes by our willingness to obey (Eph. 5:18), and even Peter would backslide in weakness later on—in spite of the Spirit within him (Gal. 2:11-20). It still boils down to choice, doesn’t it? Thanks for your insights, Ty.

  • ARM BAR

    My advice to someone who is struggling with comparisons is by telling that person to compare everything completely and perfectly,because often times many people don’t compare them self in right and fair ways,let’s take this earthly story that i used to see,he compares himself with the other student in the same classroom,and he said that he isn’t as smart as that student in mathematics and he kept blaming himself,according to him that smart student has never taken too much time to learn math,but he didn’t compare everything,he missed these things,that student doesn’t fear math and he also doesn’t care whether he could pass the test or not ,after he found out all these things,he stopped compare himself with anyone,and there is another case Wayne,when somebody viciously compare someone with other person, that is cruel,unfair and could destroy everything about oneself ,but our God in Jesus name has never compared us with the other,God created us individually unique and useful according to His Glory,Thanks Wayne.

    • Well said. Comparisons either breed pride or envy. Jesus is our only model and aspiration. Thanks.