When you look across the NFL, you realize there are multiple ways to win and different approaches to the game. There are high-powered offenses that throw the ball all day…and ground and pound teams that run the ball consistently.

Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to a nice win over the Ravens last Sunday by incredibly throwing for over 500 yards, while the Panthers relied on Jonathan Stewart to rush for three touchdowns in their win over the Vikings.

You’d think other quarterbacks might be jealous of a performance like Big Ben’s, but Cam Newton made some intriguing observations.

He said, “I look at Ben Roethlisberger the other night having a monster game. He threw the ball 66 times – 66. But I’m looking and I’m saying to myself, ‘That’s not me.’ Taking nothing away from the Pittsburgh Steelers because they’re an unbelievable team that’s fun to watch. But for us, we have to run the football. That’s our niche as an offense.”

It makes sense that Newton would notice Roethlisberger and compare their offenses, but it’s nice to hear that Cam embraces his own style and doesn’t wish he was doing what Ben is doing.

In our own lives, we often compare ourselves to others – either our co-workers or friends or even family members. We evaluate how we stack up and wonder if we’d rather have our lives look like someone else’s.

We can quickly become envious of what someone else has or is doing, and either start to question ourselves or become ungrateful.

Unfortunately, it’s easy to struggle with the tenth commandment found in Exodus 20:17 (ESV): “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.” 

During the Christmas season, covetousness can especially creep into our minds and affect our hearts if we’re not careful. We can get caught up in comparing what gifts we give or receive…or what vacations and celebrations we and others are having.

If we don’t fight against these mindsets, we can become bitter and ultimately lose sight of the true purpose of Christmas.

We are reminded in James 1:17 (ESV) to focus on God’s goodness and the blessings He continuously pours on us: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

When we look to the gift-giver rather than the gifts, we can avoid all of the comparing and envying. We can’t live someone else’s life, so let’s not long for what others have, or the “style of their offense,” or the gifts and skills they possess.

God has ultimately given each of us our own gifts and talents for His glory, so we can trust we have been called to our own “niche.”

Let’s respond like Cam Newton when he said, “But I’m looking and I’m saying to myself, ‘That’s not me.'” With this approach, we can learn to rest in who we are in Christ and be excited about what God has individually called us to do.

God has equipped each of us differently to accomplish His will, so today, let’s be encouraged by Romans 12:4-6 (ESV):

“For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…”

Merry Christmas! I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I pray I wouldn’t focus on what I don’t have or dwell on what someone else is doing. Help me appreciate all You’ve given me in Jesus and not get caught up in comparing, but rather embrace my own niche and calling. It’s in Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.