As we begin a new year, I want to remind you of something I consider to be important to your well-being: You are no surprise to God. He knew what He was getting when He chose you, just as He knew what He was getting when He chose me.
The Bible says, "He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world" (Eph. 1:4, The Amplified Bible).
God already knew our weaknesses, every flaw we would have, every time we would fail, and He still said, "I want you." Ephesians 1:5 declares He foreordained us to be adopted as His own children. God is our daddy! With Him on our side things are bound to work out all right in the end.
We need to refrain from comparing ourselves to anyone else, because God doesn't want us to be frustrated and feel unworthy of the blessings He so desires to give us.
Comparing our lives with other people's lives is unfair—to them and to us. We can look at others and wonder why we don't look as they look, know what they know, own what they own or do what they do. But it's interesting to note that Satan never points out what they don't have, only what they do have that we don't have.
God, on the other hand, never reminds us how far we have to go. He always reminds us how far we have come, how well we are doing, how precious we are in His sight and how much He loves us.
I spent many unhappy days comparing myself with other people. Why couldn't I just cast my care on God like my husband, Dave? Why couldn't I be sweet, merciful and submissive like my pastor's wife?
Why couldn't I sew like my neighbor? Why couldn't I have a faster-working metabolism so I could eat more and not gain weight? Why? Why? Why? God never answered me except with the same answer He gave Peter when he compared himself with John. Jesus had told Peter that he was going to enter a time of suffering. Jesus was speaking of the kind of death Peter would die and thereby glorify God (see John 21:18-22).
Peter's initial response was to ask what was going to happen to John. Jesus promptly said: "If I want him to stay (survive, live) until I come, what is that to you? [What concern is it of yours?] You follow Me!" (v. 22). It sounds to me as though Jesus was politely telling Peter to mind his own business and not to worry about John.
The Lord has an individual plan for each of us, and often we can't understand what He is doing or why He is doing it. We look at others as the standard for what should happen to us, but God has a unique standard for each person. That we all have a different set of fingerprints is proof enough we are not to compete with one another.
It isn't fair to compare ourselves with others. It says to God, "I want to limit You to this and nothing else." What if God ends up giving you something far greater than anyone you know? Galatians 6:4 says to do "something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison" with our neighbors. In other words our goal should be to be the very best we can be.
When your value as an individual is firmly rooted in Christ, you are free from the agony of comparisons and competition. That kind of freedom releases joy, and joy is the result of being thankful for every single thing that you have, counting yourself blessed just to be alive and to know Jesus as your Lord.
God wants you to know that His hand is upon you, that His angels are watching over you, that His Holy Spirit is in you and with you to help you in everything you do.
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and one of the world's leading practical Bible teachers. She has written more than 70 books, including the popular Beauty for Ashes and Battlefield of the Mind, and her most recent, The Everyday Life Bible (all FaithWords). She is also the founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc. and the host of Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. To read past columns in Charisma by Joyce Meyer, log on at www.charismamag.com/meyer.