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. We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. (2 Corinthians 10:12-13)
We’re in a series exploring four biblical ways to escape the comparison trap—our tendency to weigh ourselves against others until we feel improperly superior or inferior to them.
We’ve already explored two ways to escape the comparison trap. First, confess your pride. Second, thank God for the goodness he has shown to you and to others.
Today’s passage shows us the third way to escape: Ask yourself if you’re even playing the same game as the person you’re comparing yourself to.
The context of today’s passage is that the Corinthians were comparing Paul to some...
Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. (Job 41:11)
On April 7, 2019, Craig Arttez Brewer walked into a Waffle House and started handing out $20 bills to strangers. For whatever reason, Brewer chose not to extend his generosity to all the restaurant’s patrons, only some.
One customer who did not receive one of Brewer’s generous gifts became furious and stormed out of the restaurant. A few minutes later, the customer returned with a gun, shooting and killing Brewer on the spot.
This tragic true story illustrates an important truth: God is the creator of the universe. He created us and every good thing in this world, and thus, he is free to do with our lives whatever he pleases. Just as the angry Waffle House customer had no right to Craig Brewer’s generosity, we have no right to God’s.
Because we sinned against our Creator, the only “claim” we have against him is the claim to eternal separation...
If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else. (Galatians 6:3-4)
Today is my 37th birthday. I don’t know about you, but for me, birthdays are the perfect trigger for falling into the comparison trap. Because birthdays offer us a “scorecard” of sorts—especially in a world that is obsessed with success at an early age.
If we’ve made more money than our peers or parents have by a certain age, we can feel proud and arrogant. Conversely, if we have failed to sell a company, reach the C-Suite, or achieve some other goal before someone else, we can feel jealous and bitter like we’re “falling behind” and “life is passing us by.”
How can you wage war against these feelings? How do I plan to escape the comparison trap today? By confessing and repenting of my pride....
I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel. (1 Corinthians 9:22-23)
Today concludes our five-week series exploring biblical principles for working in environments that are increasingly hostile to the ways of the Lord. Today’s passage contains the final principle I want us to explore:
Principle #5: Christians are called to become all things to all people for the sake of the gospel.
One of the reasons why God has you working “outside the camp” is because it is through the work of mere Christians—not primarily pastors and religious professionals—that God will save the lost in our "post-Christian" context. But to make disciples at work you, like Paul, must “become all things to all people”—doing everything you can (other than sin) to build relationships with non-believers.
This could look like having lunch with a different co-worker once a week to...
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. (Matthew 5:13)
Last week, we explored the biblical call to “live such good lives” amongst our non-Christian co-workers that they have nothing credible to say against us (see 1 Peter 2:11-12). And we saw that that includes our submission to all authorities—even bosses who are antagonistic towards Christianity (see 1 Peter 2:13-22).
But we are only obedient up to a point. In the rare instances in which an authority explicitly asks us to contradict the Lord’s commands—when they ask us to lie to a co-worker, embellish the truth to land a deal, or stop talking about Jesus—we are free and obligated to dissent. We choose to obey God, not man (see Acts 5:27-32), otherwise our “salt loses its saltiness” and “is no longer good for anything.” That...
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us. (1 Peter 2:11-12)
We’re in a series exploring five biblical principles for working in exile. Today, we come to our third principle, straight from Peter’s letter “to God’s elect, exiles” (1 Peter 1:1):
Principle #3: Christians are called to live “such good lives” that non-Christians have nothing credible to say against us.
Though he lived hundreds of years before Peter penned the words of today’s passage, Daniel (of lion’s den fame) offers a terrific case study of what this principle looks like in practice. Like you and me, Daniel worked in exile—specifically as an official inside the Babylonian government. And he modeled the goodness Peter describes in...
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
Last week, we saw the first of five biblical principles for working in exile—namely that a Christian’s default position should be to rush into dark workplaces, not retreat from them. This is in line with Jesus’s prayer in John 17:15-18 when he asked the Father to send his followers “into the world.”
But in the same breath, Jesus also asked the Father to “protect them from the evil one.” You see, while Jesus never intended for his followers to isolate themselves from the world, he has called us to insulate ourselves before going into our dark workplaces and communities.
How? Through study of God’s Word (see John 17:17) and Christian community. That’s what the writer of Hebrews is...
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. (Hebrews 13:11-13)
Chances are that your workplace feels increasingly “post-Christian.” The HR department is now encouraging employees to customize their gender pronouns; talk of religion is quietly discouraged; and your employer is making headlines for their support of pro-choice causes.
In the face of these trends, it’s natural to wonder whether you should quit your job and find a new role in a ministry or a business led by a fellow Christian—a workplace that is “better aligned with your values.”
God may be calling you to do that, but I seriously doubt it for two reasons.
First, Jesus himself worked in dark places. As we saw in today’s...
He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God….Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:3, 6-8)
Everything God does is intentional, and the timing of Jesus’s resurrection is no exception.
As pastor Skye Jethani explains in his book Futureville, the reason why Jesus rose from the dead on a Sunday has its origins in the creation account of Genesis 1. Historically, Christians have identified “Sunday as the first day of God’s creative work.” And just “like the creation account in Genesis, which began but did not end on Sunday, God’s...
“I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered. He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish. (John 21:3-6)
Today’s passage shows us “the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead” that first Easter Sunday (see John 21:14). Commenting on this scene, St. Augustine once wrote admiringly that after Jesus had “risen from the grave, after seeing the marks of His wounds, after receiving, by means of His breathing, the Holy Ghost, all at once [these...