Keeping our Frame of Reference in Focus

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…  Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.” Galatians 6:4,5 NIV

Who is the better Christian? Who is more faithful to Christ? Who is more spiritual? Those questions seem somewhat ridiculous to ask. However, whether reflected in attitude or words or in the quiet recesses of one’s mind, the issue of comparisons has something believers have struggled with since the Church was established.

In Paul’s day it seems the focus was on who did a better job “keeping the law.” It was those who were “caught in a sin” opposed to those who were not. In our day it may be based on spiritual experience or beliefs or even the Bible version that is used or knowledge of the Bible or how long one has been “in the faith.”

As Paul talked about the “Fruit of the Spirit” his final challenge was, Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” (Galatians 5:25,26 NIV)

He then calls those who are “living by the Spirit” to lovingly with humility restore that individual to Christ and the Church. Those who restore are to be on guard against falling into the same sin and not being conceit with a “that-could-never-happen-to-me” attitude.

We see in the span of just a few paragraphs Paul twice addresses issues of humility, conceit and envy. Our fame of reference in our spiritual life is not others, it is Christ. It is “are we being faithful to fulfill the Law of Christ?” “Are we being stewards of the gifts and opportunities the Lord has given to us?” “Are we living by the Spirit and is the ‘fruit of the Spirit’ evident in our lives?”

I like to say, “faithfulness is the great equalizer.” Gifts, experiences and opportunities are different with each individual. But each person can have the satisfaction of being a “good and faithful servant.” That is one way that we “carry our own load.”

Paul addressed the issue of comparisons when he wrote to the Corinthians. The Corinthians were easily attacked to various spiritual leaders and believed loyalty and appreciation of the gifts and calling  of one, required a disparaging of another or the rest. Then there were those who advanced their own qualifications and agenda.

Paul’s approach was, “We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NIV)

There is something in us that causes us to look at others and make conclusions on our life based on those comparisons. We are to remind ourselves, that is “not wise.” We are to live by the Spirit, remain humble and seek to please the Lord and serve Him based on the gifts we possess and the opportunities the present themselves.

Prayer for today… Lord, thank You that we can all be found faithful as we live by faith. Help us to live by the Spirit, producing the fruit of the Spirit, in humility with a focus upon You.