Compared to What

I asked a woman about her husband’s faith and was shocked to hear her response. She told me that he was a committed believer who had a strong faith. Her response caught me off guard because I had seen little evidence in his life to support her comments. He attended worship once a month at best, never participated in any class of any kind, did not serve in any capacity of which I was aware, he never carried his Bible and showed no evidence of reading it. By my estimation, he was a marginal Christian at best.

Immediately a thought went through my mind, “Life looks different through a preacher’s eyes.” I try to compare people to Paul along with those great leaders of the early Church. I take people’s actions and lie them alongside the saints of old who led the Church of my boyhood. I compare people to the characteristics of a fully devoted follower of Jesus. The bar is set incredibly high and is usually unachievable by anyone I know including myself. This keeps us striving for a higher level of commitment in our walk with Jesus. Through my eyes, most of us have a long way to go in our faith.

The flip side of this is equally valid. If you compare yourself to the people you see every day, you can come off looking pretty good. Each one of us is surrounded by people who keep the bar low. We think, “At least I am not as bad as that person.” In the end, we feel confident about our faith but also about the people we love. This was evidenced to me in this woman’s words about her husband.

So let me ask you a pointed question, “To whom are you comparing your life of faith?” Are you striving to live like Jesus? Do you focus your attention on how bad other people are living to make yourself feel good?

Honestly, I know you do not care what this preacher thinks about you, but I want you to be honest; Do you believe God’s standards are lower or higher than your pastor? Be sure you are comparing yourself to the best and not the rest.

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