We use words of powerful comparison all the time. During the college life, these words seem to hold a certain power, with one or the other being what describes us. If you’re anything like me, you have weighed decisions upon comparisons, mostly in regards to post-college life. What major is best? What schedule works best? Which class will give me a worse blow to my chances of getting into medical school? Obviously these are hypothetical and our decisions do matter, but if you’ve walked around campus lately (or even around your own apartment), you know that these conversations are always taking place. To me, it begs an honest question…who gave us the authority to define our circumstances through comparison?
We’ve heard the whole spectrum from students nearing graduation. On one hand we hear, “College is the best. I never want to leave this place,” or “I can’t believe that I’ll never get to study abroad again. The best semester of my life is over!” Then there’s the other side when we hear, “I can’t get wait to get out of here. Once I get working and get settled in, it’s going to be perfect.” One of the more tantalizing factors about life after college is that we do have power in making decisions. We can do something daring and unusual, or we can do what most people are doing. We can spend a lot of our energy getting a great job at a reputable company or we can opt out to do something “small” that very few people do. In other words, we become very convinced that one alternative is better than the other. We live out our own imperfect version of “best” like it’s most important.
If we are finding ourselves beaten down with the comparison debate that so easily sneaks up on us, then we must realize that there is a great equalizer in Christ. There is the one truth that God gives us the means to live, regardless of what our circumstances suggest. This is why we say “Give us our daily bread” in the prayer Jesus taught us in Matthew 6. Everything we do to distance ourselves from our daily bread is an illusion that God sees through. Contrary to what we might hear in our Accounting class, there are no winners or losers in life. As Matthew 5:45 says, “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (nasb). We always hear that God loves us, but we need to believe it to be true. We need to believe that his best is actually our best, and our worst is whatever that is not glorifying to him.
This definition of best does not come from a position of looking within our own hearts, but instead it comes from the definition lived out fully in Jesus. It is the One drenched in compassion, from the sacrificial heart of an ever-present, eternal God who knows that all truly meaningful things are done through him and for him anyway. They come from him who loves us, who came down to Earth, suffered on the cross, and rose so we could be fully redeemed to God.
After a Bible study last semester, my roommate said, “I don’t really know what success is anymore.” I feel a strange sense of peace though we will never really know that answer. The invitation to live out this new life is still standing, and will be standing no matter how far or close to “best” we think we are. If God wills, our best might be getting married and having children. It might include having a group of friends that don’t simply agree with everything we do, but actually challenge and love us. It might include a job that is challenging and uses our God-given talents appropriately. But may we always remember that the best life was already lived, and lives in us once we join in.
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