Sometimes church leaders look at neighboring churches, other churches in their own denomination, or well-known mega-churches and ask questions like: “How do we compare to them?” “Would more people come to our church if we had a building like their’s?”
If their facilities aren’t as grand: They might look at the size of that church building and assume something special must be happening in there. They might start thinking about how they could attract more people if they just had those kinds of facilities.
If their facilities are better than others: They might pat themselves on the back and wonder what the other churches are doing wrong. Or, they might look at the ones that are still bigger than their’s and determine that they will build even bigger.
Effects of Comparisons & Competition on Christ-like Character:
Making comparisons and competition can lead to envy and jealousy which opens the door to other problems.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. (Ex. 20:17)
A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones. (Prov. 14:30)
Love … does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. (1 Cor. 13:4)
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. (Phil. 2:3-4)
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. (James 3:13-16)
What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. (James 4:1-2)
Making comparisons and competition can lead to discontent which can open the door to a misaligned focus.
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Phil. 4:11-13)
Keep your lives 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.” (Heb. 13:5)
But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Tim. 6:6)
Making comparisons and competition can lead to pride which can open the door to worldly decisions.
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. (Prov. 16:18)
Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. (Prov. 29:23)
But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:6-7)
For everything in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 Jn. 2:16)