'Winners focus on winning, losers focus on winners' was splashed out across the globe with this timely image of Michael Phelps (USA) and Le Clos (South Africa) swimming the 200 metre butterfly final in the Rio Olympic Games this week.
This shot shows the sheer determination of Michael Phelps fixing his entire attention on the finish, whilst his rival is peering over to see where he was placed in this swim.
Whilst it may be a slight moment, a coincidence, or perhaps just the camera angle; this image makes a big statement about our lives.
The snare of compare
Comparison: a consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.
The Bible addresses comparison, the desire to compare, by saying that it is one of the fastest ways of discouraging ourselves and trapping in the sin of envy.
In Galatians 6, verses 3-5 it says, "If anyone thinks they are something 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, for each one should carry their own load."
In 2 Corinthians, 10 verse 12 Paul is having to defend his ministry and says "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 wise."
So why then (even though we know that God has a unique plan for our lives and that comparison breeds nothing fruitful) do we still find it difficult to stop ourselves comparing?
I think the reason is that we forget the following:
- A daily, conscious decision to fix our eyes on the prize (Hebrews 12, verses 1-3)
- A daily, conscious decision to be grateful for what we have in our own hands (1 Thessalonians 5, verse 18)
- A daily, conscious decision to be a genuine encourager (1 Thessalonians 5, verse 11)
Easier said that done, right?
But, it was Theodore Roosevelt who once said: "Comparison is the thief of joy."
I found this to be true in my own life and, despite the daily decision and renewing that needs to occur, I know I will be better for it to learn to focus my attention on the one that is the author of my joy in the first place.
Meenal Chandra is one of the Sydney-based writers choosing to make this last chapter of 2016 count by focusing on her race.
Meenal Chandra previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/meenal-chandra.html