I was famous in China once. Well, not famous. But I was respected and admired.
When I was in college, I went with a mission team to China. We served hard during the day, but at night we would occasionally go to Chinese dance clubs just to experience the culture.
For some reason, everyone there thought we were amazing dancers. Mainly because we were American and the music was so old. In reality, we were horrible. And we knew it. We were performing old school dance moves that probably would have gotten us kicked out of American dance clubs. Yet the people in China thought we were the best thing they had ever seen.
But that’s just because they had nothing to compare us to. If they had seen us next to real dancers, they would have realized we were a joke.
It goes to show you that when your standard of comparison is off, anyone can look like a superstar. And therefore anyone can develop pride.
It can happen on a Chinese dance floor. Or it can happen when you see yourself not committing awful sins like those other people do. When you don’t beat your kids like those other people do. When you don’t cheat on your spouse like those other people do. When you don’t…
That’s great. But it shouldn’t make you proud because they’re not your standard.
Jesus is. And if we ever really saw ourselves in comparison to Christ, we’d be humbled.
The truth is one day we will be. One day we will see our standard face to face. In that moment, everybody will be in the same position: on their knees and on their faces. And no one will be looking to their side to see how they compare to the people around them.
When Jesus returns, even the greatest men and women of our generation will not have their heads lifted one inch higher off the ground than any other person. In fact they’ll be trying to get lower, digging holes in the ground in which they can bury their faces even lower before Jesus.
That’s why they’re the greatest men and women of our generation. They know that compared to Jesus, their best day is pitiful. Their best efforts futile. Their righteousness, dirty rags.
Without grace, they’d be nothing.
Without grace, we’d all be nothing.
Which makes grace that brilliant and that powerful. It simultaneously humbles us and lifts us up. It reminds us that before Jesus, we’re nothing yet we have everything we need to rise above nothing. Without grace, we pale in comparison to the Standard. With grace, the Standard dwells within us and covers our failures to live up to Him.
Don’t let the trap of comparison warp your perspective. Where pride exists, a true understanding of grace can’t.
Compare yourself to the right standard.
Thank God that when He sees you, He sees Jesus in you.