Read: Exodus 20:1-17, Psalm 23:1-6, Philippians 4:8
Out of all the commandments that God gave us, number ten is truly the hardest for me to obey.
It’s not that I want to compare, but I just can’t help it sometimes. One time I was helping host a baby shower and even though the hostess was a young mom like me her house looked nothing like mine. Every room was perfectly decorated with coordinating pillows, curtains, sofas, and chairs. An enormous abstract oil painting hung in her living room (with lights attached to it like you would see in an art museum), and beautiful professional pictures of her daughters hung on some of her other walls. I could see through the back window a perfectly manicured lawn, awesome pool, and Pottery Barn chairs. Her house was picture perfect, and a hint of envy surfaced within me.
Let’s face it: we all want a picture perfect home, marriage, career, and family. Women want to have it all, and we so quickly compare what we have to what others have. But you will always have something that someone else envies too. If we keep circling ourselves in this downward cycle of comparison, we are going to become so dizzy that we can’t think straight. We’ve got to stop scrolling each other’s curated Instagram feeds and wishing for what others have. Instead of comparing what we don’t have, let’s shift our hearts and be thankful for what we do have. Jesus is our peace; He destroys the barriers of comparison that our hearts so often revert back to.
God commands us first to love Him above everything and everyone else because He knows that if we don’t, we will all be envious of one another. He gives us this commandment out of love. My heart wants to fight it, but when I do obey, I’m filled with peace about my place in life. Instead of looking to the left and to the right, I’m focused on Him and what He has given me.
The Old Testament word for “heart” is lebab, and rather than referring to the muscle in our chest, it is typically used in reference to the core of our being - to our thought life, emotions, and understanding. In order for us not to compare, Christ beckons us to turn our hearts to the things in our life that are noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. What we think in our minds directly impacts what we feel in our hearts.
Thinking about things that are worthy of praise helps us find peace with our place in life. When we have peace, we are being filled by the Holy Spirit and are able to cheer instead of compare, love instead of lust, and hope instead of hate. Instead of spiraling downward, we begin to fall upward. Hillsong United’s song Touch the Sky lyrics describe what peace through prayer feels like so beautifully.
What fortune lies beyond the stars
Those dazzling heights too vast to climb
I got so high to fall so far
But I found heaven as love swept low
My heart beating, my soul breathing
I found my life when I laid it down
Upward falling, spirit soaring
I touch the sky when my knees hit the ground
When our knees hit the ground in prayer, everything that was stealing our joy is given to God. He takes us in, wraps us in His love, and tells us,
Only God’s love can cure a heart that compares. May we remember that He is the restorer of our souls and goodness and love will follow us if our minds dwell on Him.