You’re a believer, a woman of faith, a Christian woman who is growing spiritually…why, then, do you keep comparing yourself to other Christians? How do you stop measuring your spiritual growth against theirs?
I’m reading Leviticus for my “She Blossoms Through the Bible” project; today is chapter 2. Leviticus isn’t one of those books of the Bible that helps me blossom into who God created me to be! But it sure is showing me different facets of God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit.
Today I learned about the grain offering. God described exactly how this gift — which was an expression of thanksgiving (as opposed to a sacrificial atonement for sin) — was to be offered. No yeast or honey; lots of grain, frankincense, and salt. Unlike the burnt offerings in Leviticus 1, which I mention in What God Wants From You Today – Leviticus 1, the grain offering wasn’t to be completely burned up in the fire as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. A portion of it was for Moses and the priests to eat.
While wondering what to write about the grain offering in Leviticus 2, I realized that the Israelites may have compared their offerings, gifts and sacrifices to other people’s. Not just their pagan neighbors of different cultures and countries, but their actual neighbors. Family members, fellow Israelites, kindred spirits, best friends. The Israelites weren’t Christians, but they were human! And they definitely struggled with all sorts of problems, sins, temptations, weaknesses. I bet they looked at their sacrifices and wondered how to stop comparing themselves to others.
Who do you compare yourself to? Maybe you don’t think you’re as smart as your coworker, as pretty as your sister, or even good enough for your husband. Maybe you struggle with depression, chronic illness, feelings of worthlessness, spiritual weakness or even physical laziness. Maybe you’ve always judged yourself by the successes and failures of other women, and being a Christian just adds a new dimension called “spiritual comparison.”
How to Stop Comparing Yourself to Other Christians
This blog post is part of my She Blossoms Through the Bible project; I’m writing an article for every chapter in every book of Scripture. Yesterday I started Leviticus, which means that today we’re dwelling in Leviticus 2. A short, sweet, detailed chapter about the gift of the grain to God and the priests.
I bet the baked grain offering smelled better than the slaughtered bulls and sheep. In fact, my first tip on for getting off the spiritual comparison train is about the smell of sweet deep-fried donuts.
1. Delight in what you have to offer
“And if you bring as an offering a grain offering baked in the oven, it shall be unleavened cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers anointed with oil. But if your offering is a grain offering baked in a pan, it shall be of fine flour, unleavened, mixed with oil. You shall break it in pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain offering. If your offering is a grain offering baked in a covered pan, it shall be made of fine flour with oil. You shall bring the grain offering that is made of these things to the Lord. And when it is presented to the priest, he shall bring it to the altar. Then the priest shall take from the grain offering a memorial portion, and burn it on the altar. It is an offering made by fire, a sweet aroma to the LORD. And what is left of the grain offering shall be Aaron’s and his sons.’” – Leviticus 2:4-10. According to one commentary, the covered pan worked like a modern deep fat fryer. This grain offering was cooked in something similar to a modern deep-fried doughnut…which would smell delicious.
Do you know and share your unique gifts and contributions? You could read Leviticus 2 as a set of instructions for offering gifts of grain to God…or you could look behind the scenes. What does the variety of gifts, offerings and sacrifices tell you about the Lord? I see His love and compassion, His encouragement and open arms. God welcomed a variety of different levels and types of grain offerings in Leviticus 2. Yes, there were guidelines — but there was freedom, too! All God wanted was for the Israelites to participate in an enduring, reverential, loving relationship with Him. God just wanted their time, attention, energy and devotion. Which, by the way, He gave in the first place. Now that we have Jesus, we know God welcomes everybody and all types of gifts. You don’t have to compare yourself to other Christians because you know there is only one you.
2. Receive the gifts He is giving you today
Leviticus 2 tells us that God welcomes sacrifices from rich Christians, poor Christians, attractive Christians, thin Christians, old Christians, heavy Christians, pimply Christians. Well, back then it was Israelites not Christians…but their humanity made them like us in many ways. I bet they looked at each others’ grain offerings and compared themselves to each other. I can almost guarantee they felt better than their fellow Israelites sometimes, and not as good as other Israelites at other times. How did they stop comparing themselves to each other — especially since they didn’t know Jesus Christ?
The healthiest way to stop comparing your spiritual progress to other Christians is to stay focused on God. Keep building your relationship with Jesus Christ. Keep inviting the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom, guidance, insight, and power. If you keep your eyes focused on God and receive the gifts He offers you, you won’t compare yourself to other Christians as often. You may still struggle with feeling unloved and even ugly occasionally, but your relationship with Jesus will keep you focused on God’s love, acceptance, and delight in who you are.
3. Learn how to grow a spiritually deeper relationship with God
The good thing about all the instructions in Leviticus 2 is that it was all laid out for the Israelites. Do X, then Y, and then Z. For example, here’s Leviticus 2:11-13: “‘Every grain offering you bring to the Lord must be made without yeast, for you are not to burn any yeast or honey in a food offering presented to the Lord. You may bring them to the Lord as an offering of the firstfruits, but they are not to be offered on the altar as a pleasing aroma. Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings.” The Israelites and priests could do all these things and think they’re getting closer to God…but they’re just going through the motions. If their heart wasn’t in the gifts and sacrifices, then God didn’t want them.
Practice contemplative and imaginative prayer. If I ever compared myself to other Christians, I stopped the minute I learned how deeply and thoroughly God loves me. I practice contemplative and imaginative prayer to stay grounded and go deeper into the love of Jesus and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Having a healthy personal relationship with God is like a good marriage: you just delight in your husband, and you don’t have time or energy to compare yourself to other Christians. Your spiritual growth is unfurling and blossoming naturally. You are like a flower who doesn’t need to look at the flower next to her and wonder how she does it.
What do you think about my tips on how to stop comparing yourself to other believers or women of faith? Did I make the connection to Leviticus 2 clear enough? I hope so. Your comments — big and little — are welcome below!
If you often find yourself comparing your spiritual growth to other Christian women, read How to Love Yourself When You Don’t Feel Good Enough.
With His love,