The act of seeking, or endeavoring to gain, what another is endeavoring to gain at the same time; common strife for the same objects; strife for superiority; emulous contest; rivalry, as for approbation, for a prize, or as where two or more persons are engaged in the same business and each seeking patronage; - followed by for before the object sought, and with before the person or thing competed with.
The Apostle Paul says that when we compare ourselves with one another we are fools (2 Cor. 10:12).
Although competition can bring out the best in us, it also has a dark side. This is the side that says, “I am better than you.” This spirit doesn’t challenge people around us to be better, instead it only has one goal and that is to make those around you feel inferior to you.
The unhealthy spirit of competition will ease into any open crack to dismantle, defame or dishearten their prey. It can appear to be sweet and subtle. But beware! It will creep into prayer groups, small groups and even churches! The sweet lil ole church mother who wears her new hat only for the sake of having others to complement her or desire her wardrobe may indeed be parading in her garments only for the sake of competition. Her “rush” each Sunday is not the worship, but the wardrobe! How many hours do some of us spend dressing for church? Would you dare wear the same dress every day for one? ( You do not have to answer) This spirit, if left to thrive, is perpetual. Driven. Getting the “one up” creates a deceptive euphoria and the problem lies pitted in the truth that in essence many of those whom you are competing with really do not notice your “display”. Without even realizing it, you become narcissistic (Selah). There are many sadly to say, who feed off of this competitive spirit and exhaust themselves trying to become the king of the road. These are the ones that will spend more money to build bigger buildings, have bigger programs, crave bigger audiences just to keep up! Why some will even paint the bottom of their shoes red! There is a craziness on both ends! The one trying to keep the lead and the other trying to take the lead.
So how do we deal with those in the body of Christ who seem to constantly be consumed with competing for the: Biggest Church, most members, most programs, most prominent titles, trophy wife, best custom suits, etc? And we cannot forget those who compete for: pastoral recognitions, auxiliary positions, special titles and even special seating.
For one: Practice having your flesh to bow down to your spirit. Flesh always wants to be fed, feel good and be favored. Luke 16:15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Two: Help others achieve their goal! Yes, you…you who are so talented and gifted, help others! Phil 2:3-4 says: Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Did you read that? Do nothing from rivalry or conceit. Examine your motives deep down inside. Ask yourself, “ why am I really doing this?” Is it in the name of the Lord? Or, are you trying to prove something? Coloss.3:17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Three: Focus on the ETERNAL prize! We are living this life and there are pleasures and things that definitely enhance it and make living great. But remember we are ambassadors for Christ with a mandate. We will receive rewards based on our kingdom work. Therefore, go for the prize that is set before YOU! Don’t worry about who or what seems to be passing you by. Stay in your God directed lane and go for what HE has for YOU. It has your name on it. 1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Galatians 6:4 But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
Four: NEVER spend one second thinking about revenge. It is not of God. Revenge is destructive and can drive a person to murder. The rationalization for it’s intended purpose can appear to be overwhelmingly justified, but it is all a deceptive cloud. You will have people who betray you. You will have haters. Haters are those people who openly and secretly wish you no good or success. Stay focused on His agendas. Allow God to fill your space. He will take care of everyone else. Psalm 108:13 With God we shall do valiantly; it is he who will tread down our foes. Remember when it comes to your God given purpose, NOTHING will can stop the great work He has placed in you.
Five: It is not always about being first Matthew 19:30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Everyone cannot be the pioneer. Some have to work the set the vision, some have to work the mission. In the end… we all win.
Six: As His grace abounds and you receive favor, make sure to watch your attitude. The Lord God hates pride. Remember without HIM we can do nothing and trust me, yourr gifts will make room for you. Therefore, be mindful of what you share and how you share it. James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
Luke 16:15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Seven: Love as Jesus loves. I have a few friends whom can call me no matter what the hour is. I love them with such an Agape love that I will stop in the midst of my flow. I will reschedule, break an appointment or back-up just to come to their need. In a sense - I lay down my life for them. I am willing to sacrifice my time, my rest, my finances, even my comfort, just to come to their need. I tell you, when you can come to that place where you can truly love as He loves, you see people from a totally different view. John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Eight: Kick Envy to the curve. Nip it in the bud quickly. Now most people use envy and jealousy interchangeably, but they are different. Jealousy ramps up when you become emotionally guarded out of fear of losing something, someone or a position. It normally has count of three involved. The person, the position and the “invader” or “other person” . It is that feeling of lost. For envy, it is the feeling of lack. She has “one” and you want hers or the same. “I want her house, her job, his wife etc…”
A note here: Although you cannot control who will envy you, be cautious when you deliberately flaunt what you do or have just to cause others to be envious. Check your heart when you find yourself having joy in saying “Oh I know Sister Doe is going to have a fit when she sees my five carat engagement ring”. You must cast this thought down. Ecclesiastes 4:4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man's envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. The bible says here you are grasping for air! In the long run, you gain no substance that matters! Here is another one! Galatians 5:26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
In conclusion: Competition can alter your spiritual life if you allow it to. Competition to make more money, a bigger house, more members, a bigger building can suck the life out of you if you let it.
As a Christian, I believe that our desire for excellence should be for us to be excellent as Christians. You want to compete? Have a competition between your flesh and your spirit man. Compete for more Pray more, study more, win more souls, be silent more, just to name a few. Let’s see if our spirit man can win these challenges against our flesh and build increase for the Glory of God. I guarantee, this will be a competition worth winning and you will not even have to announce and let the world know about the struggle. It will become obvious that your flesh has melted due to being in the presence of God.