An overwhelming majority of the time it is a dangerous activity to compare one’s self. It can be a strong indication of how much pride actually resides in our heart. This pride can show itself in positive comparisons “I’m smarter, stronger, faster, etc.” and it can show itself in negative comparisons, “She’s prettier, he’s stronger, etc.” Either case, I would feel comfortable saying that comparison is rarely ever a good thing.
Thankfully, there are instances where comparison can and should be utilized in a God-honoring way. I believe the Bible sets forth an example of proper comparison in Psalm 119:98-100. In these three short verses the author makes some striking comparisons between him and the world. What makes this a godly comparison is that it is the Word of God that has given him the advantage in each one of these comparisons. When Christians study and apply the Word of God it gives them the ability to live for God no matter how difficult the circumstance.
- Word-Obedient Christians are Wiser than their Enemies (v. 98). Christians can often face a lot of opposition in this world. The secular agenda or competing world views are ever surrounding the saint. After all, Christ did say that hostility would befall His followers (Jn 15:18; cf. 2 Tim 3:12). Obeying God’s Word allows saints to have a wisdom for practical and ethical situations that goes beyond any other world view.
- Word-Obedient Christians are Smarter than Teachers (v. 99). Here, we are told that those who know and practice the word of God are smarter than those who fill the lecterns of the most prestigious universities. In a world that may often label Christians as “anti-intellectual” the Bible tells us differently. Those who study the living Word of God are given knowledge that the worlds greatest minds cannot produce.
- Word-Obedient Christians are Wiser than the Aged (v. 100). A person of great experience can often be of more value than one who has been trained to the brim. Experience and age often go hand-in-hand and is deeply applicable and practical. One driving motivation for knowing and applying God’s Word (especially for young people) is that it adds years to the mind and life!
Does comparison kill? Most of the time it does, but sometimes it’s ok. While enemies plot, professors study, and the elderly gain wisdom; all the while God’s people study and apply the living word of God. Blessed be your studies fellow saint.