Stop! Joy Thief!

The quote is attributed to Teddy Roosevelt: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” When I heard it the first time, it made me think, and the more I consider it, the clearer it is as to why and how it works.

We compare our car to someone else’s.
We compare our home to someone else’s.
We compare our lot in life to someone else’s.
And automatically misery ensues. For it seems we always are making these comparisons with that someone who has more.

It was even comparison which stole joy from Eve and then Adam in the Garden. If we only had THAT fruit! The fruit we have is nothing compared to THAT fruit. And, well, we know how that worked out for all of us.

The good news is that we need not allow the joy thief in. We have two weapons against him: God’s promises, which are the sword with which we slay the dragon Entitlement, and a shield called “Contentment” to block envy and covetousness.

Once we realize that what we have is sufficient, and no longer lay claim to what seems to be our “right,” we discover a peace that many never know. It doesn’t come automatically, though.

The Apostle Paul says that he learned to be content, whatever condition he was in, whether having little or much (Philippians 4:11-13), and that laying down his life to win others keeps Entitlement at bay (1 Corinthians 9:19).

It’s not intuitive to us sinners, but it is possible to stop the pillaging of our joy.

“Keep yourselves free from the love of money
and be content with what you have,
because God has said,
“Never will I leave you,
Never will I forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5

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