Friday, July 25, 2008

This versus That

A word keeps popping into my mind lately. The word is "compare". When I think of it, I get that red-flag feeling. Our good God gave us a wonderful mind. We have been given emotions and the ability to reason. Our senses can direct us to decisions of construction or destruction. Let's look at the scriptures where people compared "this versus that".

Cain & Abel presented their offerings to God. Abel gave what was acceptable to God and Cain gave what he thought should be accepted by God. Cain compared his disobedience with his brother's obedience. Since it was too late to change his brother's actions, he became destructive and prevented anything like that from happening again by killing his brother. Genesis 4

Mary and Martha had opened up their home for a big dinner party for Jesus and the disciples. Martha was running around making sure everyone had what they needed, cleaned up the messes, worked the kitchen. Mary on the other hand, was sitting at the feet of Jesus, enjoying His presence and His conversation. Martha started comparing their efforts, became destructive, wanted Mary to change and complained to Jesus about what she perceived as her laziness. Luke 10:38-42

Paul struggled with his sin nature when comparing himself to the righteousness of God. Paul's comparison made him become constructive and wanted to change himself. Listen to some of his thoughts: "God's law is holy, just and good... It is spiritual and I am carnal... I don't understand why I do the things that I do not want to do, or why I practice the things that I hate... I delight in the law of God... but I see another law in my members warring against the laws of God and bringing me to sin... Oh wretched man that I am - who can deliver me...? I thank God that I can be delivered through Jesus Christ our Lord!" Rom 7:9-25

Isaiah saw the Lord. He was high and lifted up and His garments filled the space of the temple. The heavenly beings cried out constantly of His holiness. They spoke of His glory being ever-revealed throughout the earth. This awesome scene brought Isaiah to a place of repentance. He compared his religious knowledge and speech to that which was just revealed to him. Isaiah saw he fell short, had so much more to learn of God, became constructive by letting God cleanse him and asking God to use him. We read that He did both these things for Isaiah. Isaiah 6

We all do it. We all see things and start to compare. Is the comparison being directed to a constructive outcome, or is it leading to an act of sinfulness or self-gratification? Is it bringing forth positive thoughts or a judgmental mindset? Will you act on improving yourself or will it wind up negatively affecting those around you? Tough questions but worth thinking about.

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