Focus: Comparing ourselves with others
Hebrews 13:5-6 (NKJV) Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
The Word of God is such a beautiful thing. It is the place to go when you are feeling insecure about what you don’t have. It is a quiet refuge from all the advertising, promotions, and peer pressure we may feel.
A magazine came in the mail today. As I glanced through, I was looking for an article promoted on the front cover. Well, it’s not that simple to just thumb through and find any article in a magazine anymore. First, you’ve got all those ‘post card thingys’ they stick between the pages causing you to pretty much flip from one of those thingys to the next. If you’re really trying to find something, you have to be quite skilled at fanning through, to get past that problem. Sometimes, I just go through and tear all of those thingys out and then thumb through again—it works better.
Anyway, as I was trying to find the article (without consulting the index—which is no longer on the second or third page of the magazine, and can take longer to find than just thumbing through—thingys and all) I was faced with the unbelievable quantity of advertising—besides what was on the post card thingys. I was noting how some pages have several ads—and wondering, just how much advertising and subscription fees does it really take to support a magazine?
So many ads for skin care, anti-aging, medications, fashion, weight loss, home furnishings, food, cleaning products, work-out equipment, pet products, make-up, hair care, nail polish, teeth whitening, self-tanning lotions, vitamins, toilet paper, carpet cleaner, candy, technology and the list goes on.
Out of 176 pages—there were maybe a total of 30 pages of information that were not advertising. Even the articles in a lot of magazines are written to motivate advertisers to place their product strategically next to the story. We know it’s all about money. We don’t buy the magazines to read the ads, we buy them to get information—but we end up getting hit with a lot of marketing in the process.
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After thumbing through—you can come away from the experience thinking, gee—maybe I need to get something to tighten up that loose skin, or brighten up my teeth a little bit. Or you look at your furniture and think about what you saw in the magazine that looked so trendy and smart. Inadequate and ‘out of it’ is the way they want you to feel. They want you to think you should buy something after you’ve looked at the magazine. They use perfect looking people, children, dogs, homes, etc., to make you start comparing yourself and thinking you need to buy something you saw on those pages so you, your children, your dog, your home, will be that perfect, too.
‘Fear of man’ is not what it sounds like. It’s not being afraid of men. It’s the condition of being intimidated by what other people ‘have’—compared to what you have. ‘Fear of man’ is behind all of the ad campaigns. The advertisers want you to feel that you could look better—be a better cook—have a more beautiful home—a smarter dog—cuter kids, if you bought their product.
The temptation to not be satisfied with what you have or your position, goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden, when Eve was tempted by satan, who offered her a fruit that would make her ‘smarter’. It was beautiful to look at, but so were all the other fruits in the garden. What satan was working on, was to get Eve to eat the one fruit God told Adam and Eve not to even touch. They had plenty of everything at their fingertips and could have all of it they wanted, but the one fruit they couldn’t have—was the one they ended up eating and you know the rest of the story.
Later, when Adam and Eve had two sons—one brother became jealous of the other one—and killed him. So, you see that this ‘fear of man’ or temptation to compare ourselves with others, has gone on since the beginning of mankind.
Within the pages of the Bible, there is no advertising. There is nothing there to make you feel like you are the only loser on the planet. You will find story after story of failure and redemption. You will find the love, grace, mercy, and peace of God. You will find that who you are is who God made you to be. You will find that the Helper is with you and will not leave you. He is here to assist you through recovery from depression, loss, failure, addiction, rejection, and any other thing you might be struggling with. After time spent reading the Word of God, you won’t close the book and feel like you need to go out any buy anything. You will know you have the Lord—and that He is enough.
Declaration: I will stop comparing myself with others and feeling like I don’t measure up. I will find new strength in the Word of God. When I feel like I lack something—I will remember He is everything.
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