A while back I wrote a post about grading ourselves: taking a realistic look at how we are doing spiritually (see Grade Yourself]. I was discussing this with a friend and she raised a very good question: what standard are we using to grade ourselves? In other words, to whom or what should we compare ourselves.
Possibly the obvious choice is Christ. We are certainly to focus on Him, to imitate Him, to “walk as He walked.”(1 John 2:6). However, if we compare ourselves to Jesus, we’re going to receive only one grade — “F” for failure. We can’t measure up, and ” for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23)
We might chose to compare ourselves to others, but that’s risky as well. It can lead to sins like pride and self-righteousness (remember the parable of the pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18:9-14) because we can always find people who seem more sinful (at least to us) than we are. It can also cause envy and despair because, on the other hand, there will alos be those who are further along on their spiritual path (often we don’t know their whole story either). As they tell us at the end of every Via de Cristo, the pitfalls are thinking we are something, or thinking we are nothing.
So, it seems there is only one course left, and that is to grade ourselves against ourselves. How am I doing compared to last year, last month, last week? Am I progressing and growing more Christ-like? Or am I content to stay the same? Am I living water or a stagnant pool?
“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone, and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.” Galatians 6:4-5
God will not ask you why you weren’t as good as ____________ (fill in the blank). He’ll ask if you were the best YOU could be. So keep growing and grade yourself carefully!