One of the things I really struggle with as a Christian is comparing my faith to those around me. I wonder why I’m not as devoted as some, or passionate as others. I question why I don’t hear from God in the way that people at church seem to or get as much from reading the Bible as them. I get frustrated because my faith doesn’t seem as steadfast as the other people in housegroup.
These thoughts leave me feeling discouraged and distant from God. Sadly it often means ending up spending less time with God, less time in the bible and less time in fellowship with other Christians.
I suspect I’m not alone in this, but it’s a very difficult thing to admit to, particularly when we compare ourselves to others who seem to have it all together. We don’t want to appear like the weak link in the chain, the doubting Thomas or denying Peter.
At this point some of you might be thinking, ‘Well, you should be more disciplined in prayer, in bible reading, in church attendance. Maybe then you would experience a faith more like those other people.’ That is true to a point, but if my experience is always clouded by comparison to others, then those actions are just as likely to make the situation worse.
If you are with me in this, I think we need a change of mindset, a different starting point. American Pastor Rick Warren suggests that being honest with ourselves is the starting of point of changing this damaging cycle of self-damnation…
“Just acknowledging that you struggle with envy [of the faith of others] can be painful, but it is the first step toward a change of values and a more mature spiritual life.”
Our faith is meant to be personal, meant to be unique. The Psalmist wrote that God knows us from before we were born. Jesus tells us God knows every hair on our heads. The Apostle Paul says God has good plans for us.
That means your relationship with God will be different from the relationship He has with your mother or brother, the person sat next to you on Sunday morning, or that blogger who you read every week.
God loves you for who you are. He knows you and so will relate to you in ways that you can understand.
And it won’t always be the same. How you communicate with and relate to God will develop and change over time. And no, it will never be the same as that person you are always comparing yourself to. It can’t be. You are unique. Your relationship with God is unique.
Remembering that is a good start to a deeper and more satisfying faith.