Each of us has some level of desire to please others and receive recognition for a job well done. We all appreciate a congratulatory slap on the back. It feels good knowing that others are pleased with your effort. However, this desire can be detrimental to a believer if their attitude goes unchecked.

How do you respond when the recognition fades and the number of “high fives” you receive diminishes? Do you still crave the acknowledgment, or are you satisfied without it? Many people are tempted to glance at their peers—those who are now receiving the spotlight—and wonder what they are doing better. These individuals are enticed to begin comparing themselves to others. However, it’s essential to recognize that what is being compared is not effort but outcomes.

In Paul’s letter to the Galatians, he has just finished encouraging them to produce fruit in keeping with the Holy Spirit versus fruit aligned to the world. The world’s fruit includes strife, anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, and envy (Galatians 5:20-21). Of course, all of these “fruits” are ingredients or outcomes of one comparing themselves to another. Instead of building others up, one tears others down to elevate themself. Furthermore, it becomes hard to share another’s burdens because one is hoping that the other will fail.

Other emotions that such an attitude can produce are hurt, bitterness, and even depression. Lacking self-confidence (not to be erroneously confused with selfish pride) and not maintaining a correct understanding of one’s identity in Christ Jesus can make one strive never to feel like they measure up. Not only does one cultivate more significant levels of guilt and depression, but other negative habits are developed, such as becoming a workaholic, financial mismanagement, or engaging in pornography.

Paul tells the church of Galatia not to look to others and compare their work. Instead, they should be satisfied knowing that they have done their best and that they have done so with the best attitude. Ultimately, you must learn to be satisfied with yourself and what you can accomplish. This is especially difficult for some of us who are “Type A” (or Type D on the DISC profile) and have task lists that are a mile long. However, we must all learn to rest in God’s grace for what we can complete and what must be left undone.