Let’s be honest, JV and Varsity Christians are all fictional characters in the evangelical church. The very root of our labeling or judging where people are at in their faith is only determined through the faulty human eye and it’s comparison. The one doing the comparing is only going to be left defeated or maybe sometimes inflated, but either way the next day you’ll be right back where you started… a sinner in need of a Savior.

The measure of our faith isn’t in looking to the person on your right or left. We know from scripture in Philippians 1:6 that we all are daily being perfected to the image of Christ. What we neglect to see (because we are too busy comparing ourselves to each other) is that the way we are being perfected and the results will all look different. How the Holy Spirit brings about sanctification in my life will be different than yours.

I use to run the 300m hurdles in track & field and no matter the race my coach would always instruct me never to look over my shoulder or to my sides but to look straight ahead. He said this for a couple of reasons. First, it slows a runner down to be looking around. Secondly, it could cause you to miss-step or worse, trip. Thirdly, in order to win you have to know where you are going and see the end. 

I get it. I’ve done it myself. It’s much easier to look to someone else and how they are living their life and try to emulate them, rather than to search and try to experience our own growth through life, trials, and sanctification. We get caught up in seeing someone or hearing other people talk about a person who is godly. But when we are left wanting our lives to look like another person (other than Christ) we are missing the adventure and joy of knowing and experiencing a great God.  When we fall into the cycle of comparison, we are like the runner who is slowed down and we end of tripping all over ourselves.  

Each of us has been uniquely made in the image of God and we need to live the life set before us. The Lord has created and intricately designed you for this life that you’ve been given. Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself. Instead, rejoice with your brothers and sisters who may be older and wiser in their years of the faith and enjoy their fellowship and wisdom. Be confident that you are daily being perfected (Philippians 1:6) and you are free from having to live a life that looks exactly like theirs.

The life of the believer isn’t competing to win a race, bible drills or even who can quote the most theologians. The life of the believer is marked by humility striving in holiness to bring glory to God, loving Him and others… as individuals wanting to be like Jesus, not as clones of one another.  

Amanda Edmondson is on staff at Sojourn Community Church is Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow her @amandaedmondson.