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The Comparison Trap

The Comparison Trap

Pastor Jonathan O’Reilly


The idea of being stuck in a perpetual state of comparison is not a new one. It’s an age old problem. It’s a world problem and a human problem and no one can seem to find the cure.

We are constantly comparing ourselves to others. Or others to others. Or ourselves to our previous selves. So. Much. Comparison.

And we know that comparison is a trap. It is a sinkhole for envy and judgement and jealousy. But yet – we continue to compare. Maybe it’s just part of the human condition. Maybe it’s part of living in this world we are not made for. Either way, it’s definitely not what we are built to do.

Comparison never ends well. It will always leave us bitter or prideful, because there’s always someone with much more or much less. And more dangerously, it kills contentment. And contentment is really the ideal. 

Contentment gets confused and morphed a lot into things it isn’t. Contentment is not laziness or complacency, rather it’s living in a posture of satisfaction. Content people are memorable. They are the kind of people you want to be around.

But how do we get to contentment if we are stuck in the mud of comparison? How do we separate the two? How do we live satisfied even if things aren’t as we wish they were?

First, we recognize what we have. We have been so blessed with God’s abundance, although it is not something we tend to focus very much on.

There’s always a feeling of wanting more. But who are we to demand more of the amazing abundance beyond that we have already been gifted? Instead of comparison, we need to live with an attitude of gratefulness.

Second, we make God our source. We realize that He is the only thing that can lead us to contentment, that can provide, that can fully satisfy us. He is not just a source, He is the only source. We have to remember that even in a world that is built to nurture comparison, God is the only one who can make things happen.

Third, we live our lives on mission. We stay focused – eyes on the prize, going for the gold. We live on purpose for Him and the furthering of His Kingdom. And we don’t get distracted. Not by the world, not by comparison, not by the “if-only-I-had” mentality, and not by people without purpose.

If we are truly content, in every season and in every situation, and if we steer clear of the comparison trap, we will have a life full of joy and peace, and we will be fortified from circumstance. And that sounds like the best place to be.