Comparison — The Thief of Joy

Today is Valentine’s Day?

Really?

It’s kind of hard not to notice I’ve you’ve been on social media at all today. From photos of people flaunting their love and the gifts they’ve received from the ones who love them, to the sometimes bitter posts from singles trying to justify why they don’t need a mate, it’s kind of hard to miss. Everywhere you look, there’s a reminder that today is Valentine’s Day.

As I sit here in my favorite coffee shop in Korea Town, eating my sweet bread and reading my bible, I want to share a little of what I’ve read today. My hope is that single or committed, it will encourage you alike.

 

Ezra 3:11-13

“…Then all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid.

But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy, so that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people, for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the sound was heard afar off.”

At first, I couldn’t understand why God was parking my heart on these verses in the book of Ezra. The more I pondered, the more I could sense the devastation of those who were weeping. They had seen the first temple, they knew how grand the first temple was and they knew the second could not compare. This made their hearts sad. They had expectations of what the finished product would be because of what they had known before and they were disappointed.

 

Those who were filled with joy and shouted praises to the Lord however, had no idea how great the first had been. They had nothing to compare it to and as a result, they were filled with joy and happiness at the very sight of the house of the Lord that stood before them.

In Haggai chapter 2, the Lord spoke through the prophet Haggai and asked “Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? In comparison with it, is this not in your eyes as nothing?”

It’s really easy to get caught up in the comparison game. Just as those who had seen the first temple, if we aren’t careful, we can allow comparison to steal our joy. Comparison can take moments in our life when we should be thankful and praising the Lord and cause us to weep in disappointment over what we don’t have.

I have good news though friends, God doesn’t want your heart to weep and be sad. He wants your heart to be filled with gladness– always. God knew the second temple could not compare to what first existed and He had a plan that had not yet been revealed. As you continue reading in Haggai chapter 2, you will find in verse 9, the Lord tells the people, “The glory of this latter temple shall be greater than the former…”

Whether you are single or in a relationship that is not currently bringing you joy, God sees where you are, he sees the disappointment you may be feeling and He has a plan. Take encouragement in knowing that He knows where you are and He wants you to know that He wants to fill your heart with joy. Don’t let comparison steal your joy this Valentine’s Day.

If you feel your heart straying that way, spend some quiet time with the one who loves you more than any human is capable of ever loving you. Trust me when I say if you come into His presence, He will shower you with more love than you could begin to hope for.

Happy Valentine’s Day all!

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