For who in all of heaven can compare with the Lord? What mightiest angel is anything like the Lord?
Psalm 89, verse 6; from the New Living Translation (NLT)
One of the favorite pastimes for many is making comparisons. Some turn it into a sport. Others have made it an art form. By definition, comparison is a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people. One thing is like another because of… Another thing is unlike another because… But unfortunately, most comparisons are made based on opinion, not facts. For example, the selection of the 4 college football teams to play for the national championship. Comparisons were made on the teams selected, and teams not selected. And though the process is projected as being unbiased and nonpartisan, it’s still the result of of opinions. And some people even compare opinions to a certain body orifice–everyone has one and most of them stink.
Seriously, comparing is quite common. We compare one product to another. One person to another. And especially comparing ourselves to others. We look at another person and think, “I could never do what they do.” Or, “Well, I’m not as bad as they are!” We compare political ideologies, theological perspectives, churches, and you name it. Compare! Compare! Compare! Some even do “taste” comparisons. Which cola tastes the best? Which cheese is cheesier?
But there is One that there is really nothing to compare with. And that is God–revealed in The Bible–affirmed by Jesus–and confirmed by the Holy Spirit. Sadly, some want to compare God by their traditions; their opinions; even worse–to the values of this world. Truth Time! Nothing and no one compares to God. And this is why we need to stay close to Him, to know Him through the Scriptures, and listen to Him. Attempts to comingle Him and what the world says will only lead to disaster and destruction. Sure! He will contradict everything the world says is right. But He IS God. And there’s just no comparison between the two!
The fabric of our culture is being ripped apart at the seems. And please don’t call the Grammar Police that I have used the wrong word. It’s the correct word. I wrote what I meant and I meant what I wrote. SEEMS! Here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. the fabric of our society is being ripped to shreads at the seems. I came upon this thought through remembering a certain passage from The Bible. In fact, it’s been roaming around in my gray matter for several days. Here is is:
There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.
Proverbs chapter 14 verse 12 from the New Living Translation
Some might think it’s amazing that a book as old as Proverbs can be so relevant to these times. But it’s not really amazing to me. These books of The Bible continue to be both timeless and timely. But let’s get back to those seems. Consider this:
It seems right to the LBGTQI culture that if society just accepted them, they would be happy.
It seems right to the gay community that if they could just get married like any heterosexual couple they would be happy.
It seems right to the project manager since their assistant is so capable to let them do all the work and they take all the credit.
It seems right that since that other person is so good looking, that a night in the sack is OK.
It seems right that if they child shows up for the games they should get a participation trophy.
It seems right that since they have a college degree they should start at the top.
It seems right that since that drug helps take away their stress they should reach for it.
It seems right that since a child would impede their lifestyle and goals, an abortion is the right choice.
It seems right that the government should be responsible for us from craddle to grave.
It seems right that if someone doesn’t agree with you that they must then hate you.
It seems right ad nauseam…
Now before you Tenured Pew Sitters finish saying, “Amen! You tell them Preacherman!” Let’s look at our church culture.
It seems right that Jesus should just come back and take us good ones on to our reward, since this world will never change.
It seems right that if the church could just go back to the good old days, we could stop the hemorrhaging members and doors closing.
It seems right that if their church started catering to them, then all the problems would go away in their church.
It seems right the church’s sole job is to point out the sins of others.
It seems right that everyone in their church should dress a certain way, think a certain way, and believe a certain way.
It seems right that the church should only help those who deserve it.
It seems right that they should only sing the songs they like.
It seems right ad nauseam…
It seems that many, too many people, are living by the seems–and life is ripping apart at the seems. And then Proverbs Chapter 14 Verse 12 proves itself to be absolutely true. What seems to be true is proven false by life itself. And things begin to rip apart, at the seems. This is life without God–life without Jesus as BOTH Savior AND Lord. Contrary to the opinion of alleged experts, we are simply not qualified, and certainly not capable, of determining what is right and what is wrong.
But there is an alternative and it’s the only one who will keep our lives from falling apart at the seems. It’s really simple and easy–that is–if we can get over ourselves. We find it in another book of The Bible. It’s in Matthew chapter 11, verses 28 and 29:
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
from the New Living Translation
The word yoke doesn’t refer to the kind worn by oxen and mules. It’s about the Teaching Of The Rabbi. Back then what Rabbis taught was called The Yoke. And if you think the teaching of Jesus is too hard and difficult (because He did say: Be holy as I Am holy), read these words again. But this time from a different Translation:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
from The Message
Be and become whom God made you to be and become, and NOT what seems right to you. You and our society will be and become something so much better. Love God with all your heart. Love others the way Jesus loves you. And make sure all the glory goes to Him!
As I mentioned, a couple of weeks ago I went to my optometrist because–well because it was time. Though I have going to an optometrist since I was 12 years old, it doesn’t mean I look forward to it–or that I’ve grown accustomed to seeing one. I haven’t! I mean, it’s like taking a test, right? “Which one, this one or this one? Number 1 or Number 2? Or are they about the same?” Sometimes the difference is noticeable to me–and sometimes it’s hard to tell.
I went to a different optometrist because we had moved since my last eye exam. On one such comparison (Number 2 or Number 1? Or are they about the same?), I was obviously taking too long to give an answer (have I mentioned I hate tests?), because Dr. Clark said, “Now both of them are going to be a bit blurry, just tell me which one is less blurry, or if there is no difference between them.” My mind was telling me that I had better make the right choice or you will be spending a lot of money for nothing.
Comparisons can be difficult to make. Tell me, do you compare yourself with…other people? It can be very uplifting if it is obvious that you are better than the other person. But there is a flip side–it can be very discouraging when you see someone is doing something better than you. Human nature being human nature–we try to avoid the latter.
But there is one comparison that is obvious and very clear that a distinct difference exists. It is from 1 Peter chapter one verses 15 and 16–“But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.“ Forget that! God is perfect–and me? I’m a far cry from perfect–and so are you. How is this going to help us? If God expects perfection–and He does–then I might as well give up!
And this puts me in the “perfect” place–the perfect place to stop trying to be holy–and allow my Creator, my Heavenly Father, my Savior, my Comforter to do what He does best. Being holy isn’t the result of our efforts, but it is the product of God’s work of grace in our hearts. What I need to do is let Him work by following Jesus. And then moment by moment, bit by bit, it becomes obvious that there is a difference–a difference between the current me and the me I’m becoming!