Recorded in 2 Corinthians 10:12, the apostle Paul said, “Not that we [have the audacity to] venture to class or [even to] compare ourselves with some who exalt and furnish testimonials for themselves! However, when they measure themselves with themselves and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding and behave unwisely.”
Paul describes those who thrive upon comparison as being unwise. I believe comparison reduces our valuable uniqueness to an overwhelming sense of insignificance and discouragement. Most often, comparison is fueled by insecurity, which has its roots in pride. Simply stated, comparison derails us from maximizing the potential God has placed upon our lives. Additionally, comparison traps us into building our own kingdom of self-importance, a situation in which even Jesus’ brothers found themselves:
“His [Jesus’] brothers said, ‘Why don’t you leave here and go up to the Feast so your disciples can get a good look at the works you do? No one who intends to be publicly known does everything behind the scenes. If you’re serious about what you are doing, come out in the open and show the world.’ His brothers were pushing him like this because they didn’t believe in him either” (John 7:4-5 MSG).
Interestingly, Jesus knew that in the right time, His Father would lift Him up. How true is that for us today? We so easily take credit for our gifting, perform from that identity, take our “selfies,” broadcast our highlight reel to the world, and then wonder why we flat-line so quickly. Know this: Comparison is a thief of your God-birthed identity and purpose! And not far from comparison is the third distraction common to worship artists: negativity.
One of my least favorite responses to a challenge is, “It can’t be done.” Over the years of leading teams, I have noticed that this statement usually emanates from a frustration with a lack of resources (staging, musicians/talent, equipment and technology, etc.). Friend, there’s always a way to accomplish a task. Having the attitude of a “can do” team member is far more than what comes out of your mouth, too. Eighty-five percent of all communication of meaning is non-verbal. So I ask, “What does your body language speak to everyone on your team?”
Negativity is cancer to your team culture. Consistently negative people are often selfish people who “offer” themselves in order to satisfy an emotional or ego need, not a Kingdom-building need. As such, a common by-product of negativity is divisiveness. On the subject, the apostle Paul instructs, “If people are causing divisions among you, give a first and second warning. After that, have nothing more to do with them.” (Titus 3:10 NLT) Yikes! As severe as those words are, it goes to prove how important unity is in our team culture.
To me, it comes down to understanding that the local church is the house of God, not the “restaurant of God.” And in a house, we serve.
I pray that we stir each other up to keep the main thing…the main thing. May the resources we’re blessed with simply be tools to advance the cause of Christ in our local churches. May we find the greatest treasures in each other as we bring the Gospel to the world. And may we realize that the root in our hearts determines the quality of fruit we all desire.
This article originally appeared here.