Who You Should Compare Yourself To

A lesson at Tabgha frees you to follow Jesus as yourself.

Someone else’s stuff always seems better. Even their struggles seem better. Have you noticed? The temptation to compare yourself with somebody is hard to sidestep in the Christian life.

Who You Should Compare Yourself To

(Photo: Tabgha statue of Jesus and Peter. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

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 looked far into Peter’s future and revealed what Peter’s love for Jesus 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 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!

Tabgha harbor near the Primacy of Peter

(Photo: Tabgha harbor. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

Comparisons Again?

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

Comparisons again, Peter? Jesus’ response brought Peter’s priorities back into perspective. They also speak to each of us when we compare ourselves with others:

If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? 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.

The Compare Yourself Cure

If we compare ourselves with others, we only feel discouragement or pride. Instead, we ought to compare ourselves to Jesus and react instead with humility. Compare yourself with another Christian and you will react with envy, discouragement, or depression. Someone else’s calling always seems a better deal than yours.

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 of us 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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