Manparison

by Brian Griffith
Photo by Wendy van Zyl on Pexels.com

Think of this entry as a follow-on to my wife’s post on comparison, but from a man’s perspective. This is not about body image, social status or if my car is good enough. Its about our spirituality and our tendency to judge ourselves by what we see in others.

As Julie pointed out in her post, there is a reason why God has not called us to compare ourselves to others. He has a plan and a purpose just for us. I recently realized that I have fallen into the trap of comparison, but with my walk, my faith and my relationship with God as the medium.

Many times when I read teachings from brothers anointed to instruct us, I begin to compare my walk with their’s. Often the message that they have been sent to give, gets lost in the comparison and comes to no effect. This is just another hidden plan of the enemy. I find the same thing often happens when I hear the testimony of another brother and how God has used or blessed him in a given area. I begin to think, “Why am I not being used or blessed so mightily?” “What am I doing wrong?”

The answer to these questions is simple. God did not call us to compare ourselves to others, even (or especially not) gifted men of God. The Lord has a unique plan for each of us, and unique means, it doesn’t look like anything else! And yet the thoughts come creeping in..” I must not be as valuable to God.”, “God can’t use me like that.”, “I must not be pleasing to God, or He would be using me, blessing me or exalting me like brother so-and-so.” Lies! Sent by the enemy to discourage, distract, delay and defeat God’s purpose in our own lives.

Comparison can not only affect how we view our purpose in God, it can affect our very relationship with Him. When we listen to another brother relating his experience with the presence of God, and we start to feel like, “I don’t have a relationship with God that looks like that.” , we start to believe another lie. God has a unique relationship with each of us and it cannot be compared to anyone else’s!

We, as men, do not talk about this enough. We need to acknowledge that this happens, and face it down as the lie from the enemy that it is. Think about how much more effective we would be in our calling if we stopped comparing ourselves to our brothers. We need to accept that God knows what He is doing and He has everything figured out perfectly. We need to stop thinking that our walk, purpose or relationship should look like anyone else’s, and trying to make it conform to what someone else has or has experienced.

God has a unique, powerful and amazing plan for each of us. We need to step out of the way, believe fully in Him and His purpose, and devote ourselves to what He tells and shows us, is for each us. Resist the trap of the enemy to compare yourself and seek the author of your plan, you will never be disappointed!

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Comparing ourselves to others.

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We compare a lot of things. Prices for products at the store, gas prices, books and movies to name a few. I think to compare is so ingrained in our culture. This often leads to comparing ourselves to others. In fact, it is taught that we do need to compare ourselves with others. Ever hear of the phrase keeping up with the Joneses? It is just something to keep us in a constant state of discontent.

I find myself constantly comparing myself to others. I wanted to work through that today. I want to understand why this seems to be such a compulsive habit. When I really stop and think about it, I find that this is the reason I do not really understand my identity in Christ. I am too focused on what others are doing and if they are doing it better, or even if they have more of a blessing upon them than I do. This is just the Christian version of keeping up with the Joneses. I feel as though the Lord is saying that it is a design of the enemy, just there to keep me from walking in the full potential of my identity in Him! Logically, I know this and I suspect you do as well. Even knowing it does not stop it from happening. In fact, even doing this blog is grounds for me to compare myself. Thoughts go through my head such as everyone is a better writer than I am. I can’t effectively communicate what I am trying to say. Who is even going to read this to begin with and if they do it most likely won’t impact them in any way. I guess this is birthed in insecurity and fear. The very need to compare is birthed in the fear that I will never be enough. Enough for my husband, friends and family and enough for God. How could God ever accept me when everyone else is so much better and so much more spiritual than I am. When they all seem to have their crap together and I don’t. When they all have goals and I am just seemingly drifting through life.

I was thinking about Facebook. I was thinking of all the great pictures that everyone post, myself included, of the lives we want to portray. How every time we get a like or a comment it is like a drug that gives you a small high. Of course if nobody likes the selfie that I posted, then of course I must be completely hideous and will never measure up to the beauty standards of society. Of course this is complete insanity and yup you guessed it, demonic! In fact, I needed to get off of Facebook for a couple of months for this very purpose and to just quiet myself and hear who Jesus says I am.

Those of us who compare ourselves often judge others as well. What is comparison other than another word for judgement. We judge ourselves and we judge others, mainly because we will only treat others as good as we treat ourselves. This fact, in of itself, may be a very good reason to stop comparing or judging ourselves. The bible says in Matthew 7:2 NLT “For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. ” This includes judging or comparing ourselves. When compare ourselves we are not standing in agreement with who God says we are. Another bible verse that really brings this point home is Galatians 6:4 NLT “Pay careful attention to your own work, for then you will get the satisfaction of a job well done, and you won’t need to compare yourself to anyone else.” I often have to remember this in the business that my husband and I have. It sometimes gets to the point where we look at other christian businesses and compare ours to them. It is ugly when we do this but as humans we all do it to some extent or other.

I know that there are a million things written about this very subject. This is just my take on it and some of the things that I am going through that I want to shed some light on. Light overcomes the darkness. The devil wants us to stay in the dark about our struggles. I am overcoming this. This is just a part in the process of overcoming this. I know some of you may read this and judge me and that is okay. That is not something that I can control and really has nothing to do with me anyways. This I know, that Christ wants me free and He has died to give me that freedom and a beautiful identity in Him. I have no need to compare myself to others in any way, shape or form as I am completely accepted in Him and totally secure in Him. It really comes down to believing that and believing Him and what He says. I have the victory already and I also need to believe that. Hebrews 11:6 NIV says “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” If I am not agreeing with God than I am agreeing with the devil, and this is very much the hard truth that when I compare myself with others I am very much in agreement with the enemy. So this is my declaration of faith, I am a child of God and I am fully accepted and wanted. I am a child of the most high King!

Who’s Agenda Is It?

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By Brian Griffith

When we first come to Christ, a struggle develops within us, whether we recognize it or not. The struggle is whether we will follow God’s will for our life, or our own will. Many Christians fail to even recognize they are not following God’s will for their lives because of our culture. This oversight results in many failing to walk out the purpose God created them for in the first place.

The Culture of “I”

From the time we are born, most of us are being programmed to plan out our lives. We are constantly steered toward finding a purpose in life. We are told, “You can be anything you want to!”. We are continuously asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. In this culture, it becomes all about “I”. What am I interested in? What do I enjoy? What do I choose to pursue? All this is thought of as quite normal, to the point of shaming those who fail to choose a path, or follow through with it. This leads to a percentage of the population whose “I” is “I choose to drift through life, carried by the current of circumstance or the opinion of others.”.

A Divine Path

God created each of us for a specific and divine purpose. Psalm 139 states that there is a book written about each of us at the beginning of time, which contains “all the days of our lives, before there was one of them”. God has a plan for each of us, a perfect plan, if we will agree to walk in it. Therein lies the rub, understanding this and yielding to it.

Surrender is the beginning

For myself, I was deeply in the cultural belief that I had to have a plan for my life, one I designed, so that I would feel complete, accomplished and satisfied. In my case, it changed drastically several times over my life, but I always felt the need to be in control of my destiny. And to a certain extent, I was in control. Shortly after I came to Christ, I realized that I would probably have to give up my plans for the future, even if they didn’t seem “ungodly”. I accepted that change, not knowing what would be the outcome, only that when I understood God’s will for my life, I would follow it in trust and faith. Many Christians don’t reach this conclusion. They continue in their lives, making most if not all of the choices as to what to do and where to live, themselves. They either fail to realize God has a specific plan for them, or they are in fear of stepping into it. It takes surrender to God’s plan to live a life of victory.

Getting Proper Perspective

It also requires us to understand, victory is defined against the backdrop of eternity, not modern culture. For many this is a stumbling block, because if their victory doesn’t measure up to the world’s standards, they feel they have failed. Many times God’s plan is much greater than we can see with our eyes, or we are only seeing a tiny fragment of something so large, it requires the perspective of eternity to fully understand. It requires faith.

Walking in Faith

Hebrews 11.6 states “without faith it is impossible to please God” . Choosing to follow God’s plan for your life will ALWAYS require faith. 2 Corinthians 5:7 states “For we walk by faith,not by sight” and Galatians 3:11 states “…the just shall live by faith”. God does not deliver our life plan in a hardcover, leather bound book with gold leaf. No, His delivery is far more subtle and requires faith as a fuel.

Greater Than We Could Ever Imagine

When we yield our life to Jesus, making Him the true Lord of our life, it requires following his plan. It requires faith that His plan is better than anything we could ever put together ourselves. It requires us humbling ourselves to His lead and believing what is written in Jeremiah 29:11 ” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. It is time to stop choosing fear and instead to chose faith.

Boldly go where God is calling you.

I challenge you to boldly seek God to receive from Him revelation of your created purpose. When you understand what that is, be prepared to trust God and go when He says go. Even if you only know the first step, when you walk in faith, in His plan, you will be living up to your greatest potential. And even though challenges will come and mistakes will be made, take the first step and He will get you there.

Disappointment

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Expectations

So often God will give us a glimpse of what He wants us to walk out. We get excited and we run with the vision and we soon have expectations of what we think it is suppose to look like. We fill in all the blanks of the vision to what we believe things should look like and how it should turn out. It is these very expectations that cause us to be disappointed when the vision is not what we expected it to be.

Filling in the blanks

This is what has happened with the vision that God gave my husband and I. We have set out to follow God but filled in many blanks along the way, and thus comes our struggle with disappointment. Don’t get me wrong I am no way complaining. We are, in fact, following the vision that God has for us and we are so incredibly blessed to be doing so. We are in beautiful Chicago right now, doing exactly what God had originally shown us we would be doing. However the reason for this blog is to be transparent about the struggles we are having and how God is teaching us to renew our minds and overcome the struggles.

Questioning God

Disappointment with how our business is going has crept in. I am asking God, “Why does this not look like we thought? How do we seem to still be in the same season financially that we were in?” We were so sure that this was a turning point and that everything from this point forward would be different. It is different and it is definitely a new season, but the things that we had hoped would change have not and the things that we did not expect to change have.

Processing

Our business has taken a completely different turn than we thought it would. We are no longer in the free market, but in contract to a single client. This in itself is actually an incredible testimony, despite the hardships. So, we are processing the disappointments with God and we are determined to overcome, instead of letting the disappointments overcome us. This takes trust in God that He alone can heal the disappointment.

Crossroads

We are at a crossroads. Do we go down the path of disappointment and bitterness because of how we thought it should be? Or, do we trust God and allow Him to show us that we are to take one step of faith at a time in His direction? We have chosen to believe Him and trust that He will get us there. He has not forsaken us yet and He has no plans to. This does indeed take trust, faith and a simple obedience that is not always so simple.

Overcoming

We are finally at a place where we believe we have overcome the disappointment. It has taken us awhile to get here. The power of God’s word is transforming us. He has taught us to stop looking at the circumstances of our situation and instead to keep our eyes on Him. Literally the second we take our eyes off of Him, we are right back in the middle of fear. We overcome this fear by focusing on a scripture that He has given us for this time. There are no words to describe the peace we feel as we focus on Him. He is our provider and He knows what He is doing. Our job is to simply trust Him and obey Him. In Him, we have the victory.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8 ESV

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

Doing what God gives you the vision to do. Do you do it? Do you dare to dream with God? Or do you have a million excuses as to why you can’t do it? It started in November in 2016. I get a call from my husband in the early morning telling me he had a vision about a business venture that he believed we are to start. It was to start a truck driving school that would train the students how to do more than just pass the test. We decided to believe that God would provide for the steps of faith He asked us take. My husband left his job as a truck driver and we both walked into this vision full time. It has been two and a half years and a couple of revisions to the vision, but here I am in Chicago on a business trip for the very vision that God has been leading us in. Thus starts the topic of this blog. It has been an incredible time with many testimonies and miracles that have happened. It has been such a struggle that at times I wondered how we would survive. I want to give a vulnerable view of the adventures we are having with God and the struggles in the midst of them. I want to renew my mind daily and hash out the struggles with you and share the victories with you. I want to give a glimpse into a testimony in the making.