The game: comparison

It's players: you and me.

The rules: hurt, fear, rejection, judgment, sadness, gossip, lies, pride and ultimately death.

The winner: Satan

The loser: you and me

Do the rules of the Comparison Game sound a little extreme to you? Are you thinking, "I would never play a game with those rules that in the end would lead to death!" Then more than likely you're in the midst of a game right now and you don't even know it. Can we be honest for the next few minutes and at least admit we play this game. For goodness sake we are the prime instigator of a new game when round one, two and three is over. We add more and more rules as the game goes on and we add more and more players to strengthen our team.

We play the game because we think it's free, but in reality the cost is so much more than you and I will ever comprehend and that we could ever pay. We play the game because sadly enough, we still can't grasp the precious truth of God's unconditional love. We struggle enough with accepting his love in our own lives, but even more unfortunate, I think, we struggle with accepting that God loves "them."

You know, "them": the people that are different than we are; the people that just haven't quite met up to our expectations; the people that don't play by our rules; the people that we are so much better than, so much more educated than, so much more spiritual than — ouch, that one hurt — the people who, to their detriment of course, don't talk, look and act like we do; the people that obviously don't realize that we have earned the right to be treated better than "they." Need I go on?

How scary to know that we try to convince ourselves that our Heavenly Father looks down from heaven and compares His children in the way we do! We have to try to convince ourselves of this or why would we continue to play the game? Even when the disciples played this game what did Jesus say? "If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all." (Mark 9:35) The words we shrink away from here are "very last" and "servant of all." In other words, it's all about "them" and not at all about "us" ... completely opposite of the rules of the Comparison Game.

It is finished.
Now before you let yourself off the hook and start to think that maybe you don't really play this game, let me warn you that there are 2 folds to this destructive game. The other fold of the game goes something like this. "Them" takes on the opposite role. I can never be like "them"; I will never be successful like "them"; I will never be as popular as "them"; "they" have all the luck; "they" always win; I could never do what "they" do; "they" are worthy and I am not. Sound maybe a little more familiar?

Don't get me wrong; we all play both sides of this game, don't we? I do believe Satan keeps us trapped in one side of the game more than the other depending on our weaknesses and our challenges. But, let's not be mistaken that the rules and the end results of both folds of the game are the same: destruction of God's children.

The lie that Satan has us believing is that we will eventually win the game — no matter which side of the comparison game we are playing. If we play long enough we will obtain the status and the title and the recognition we so obviously deserve, since we really are better than "them." Or we allow ourselves to believe the lies and excuses that keep us from fulfilling our true spiritual purpose, because we are so busy comparing ourselves to people whom God gave different talents and different purposes. So we're going to speak truth into both these lies. When we play the game in any fashion, no one wins! Only Satan gets the joy of victory in this game. His greatest desire is to shatter our God-image so we can shatter others' God-image so together we can continue to live the lie that it's all about self.

God's word, the sword of truth, tells us something very different. It's all about servant-hood and it's all about grace and it's not a game at all. You and I (and "them") are created to be exactly who we are supposed to be! PRAISE GOD! We are spiritual beings made in God's image, and God himself breathed life into us. (Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:7) We are perfect in God's eyes, and he created us to be His precious beloved children. (1 John 3:1) His greatest desire is for us to embrace the truth that we are worthy simply because He says we are! When we accept that we are worthy because of His grace, then, and only then, can we live in peace and see others as God sees them. They too, are His beloved children created in His image to be holy as he is holy. How freeing is this precious truth! God compares us to no one. We are here, right now, in His timing, for His purpose, to serve and to worship the one who loves and created us. We are here to share salvation, Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead, with everyone.

Let's live our lives with the Holy Spirit's "rules" so that we will all be victorious — "Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." (Galatians 5:23) Let's stop playing the game that costs so much and leads only to death. The Comparison Game ended on the cross, the moment the spoken words left our savior's mouth. Do the rules of the comparison game sound a little extreme to you? Are you thinking, "It is finished." Game Over.