by Shayla Asselin
A few months ago, my daughter, Adalyn, was learning how to climb up the stairs at our house. She was catching on fast, but she has this habit of making everything a race. She wants to beat us to the car, in the house, and up the stairs. If she can turn it into a competition, she will. The problem was that she always looked back when she was racing us. Finally, after a few slips and a couple of run-ins with the wall, I said, “Addy, it’s hard to move forward, looking back.” I believe the words that slipped out of my mouth convicted me more than they corrected her.
How many times in life have I got distracted because I was checking someone else’s progress. In 2 Corinthians 10:12, Paul expresses how unwise it is to fall into the trap of comparison. In my experience, comparison will do one of two things. It will either make us proud because we feel like we are doing better than someone else or it will make us insecure. Commonly, the results of comparison are jealousy and discontentment.
In Luke 9:62, Jesus warns against looking back and forsaking the work at hand. He was teaching a group of lower class laborers so, as the expert communicator that He is, He used the analogy of a man plowing the field. The eye of the plowman, if he is to do his work well, must look straight before him at the line of the furrow he is making. To get distracted and look back, while working, is to ruin the work entirely. When we are moving, we have to keep looking forward or we will end up somewhere we never intended to go.
In Philippians 3:13, Paul compares the journey of a Christian to the race of a runner. Paul chooses to live by an important principle: keep his attention on the road in front of him. A runner cannot look back and still focus on the goal ahead. The two ideas are mutually exclusive. A runner's goal is to focus on the next step toward their goal. Paul's spiritual life is the same. He will not look back to past steps, but focus on improving each step in his race until reaching the goal of being with Christ.
We can’t allow the desires for our past or the disappointments of our past distract us from the goal. We also can’t allow comparison to deter us. As Lexi mentioned in her article last week, the devil will employ whatever tactic to hinder us. Satan is cunning and will use a trap that is customized to our weakness. I can recognize a mouse trap as a trap because, obviously, I’m not a mouse. My trap is specific to me, just as yours is specific to you. But God is faithful and will always provide a way of escape!
I pray that we reject the trap of comparison and run the race that is set before each of us. Imagine what all could be done for the Kingdom of God if we refused to compete with one another and started laboring together. Heaven is the goal. Let’s all go together and take as many people with us along the way.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
2 Corinthians 10:12
And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,