Character, not Competition
by Nannette Elkins
One of the very first stories in the Bible concerns Competition. Cain and Abel were brothers. Both brought an offering to the Lord and Cain’s offering was not accepted; Abel’s was. This type of sibling rivalry, jealousy and competition eventually caused Cain to take the life of his brother.
This example of unhealthy competition can consume us; the Lord tells us we must rule over it!
Fast forward thousands and thousands of years and let’s take a look at the healthy and unhealthy competition in our world. There is the need to compete all around us, in sports, in business, in education, entertainment and yes, unfortunately, even in the Church.
IN GOD THERE IS NO NEED OF COMPETITION.
The word competition is not even in the Bible (although examples of it abound!) but Unity is talked about and encouraged over and over again. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Romans 12:10.
In the early Church, they had “all things common”. If there was a need in the Body, they filled it. No one was to go without; they preferred their brother and sister above themselves!
They didn’t compete against each other but instead they learned to serve and they all worked together for the Kingdom.
Where there is Unity, there is power. We read in Leviticus 26 that five men can chase 100 but 100 can chase 10,000! See the muscle that comes with being united in Christ? We are 100 times more effective when we are united together.
Satan loves to bring disunity and unhealthy competition into the Body of Christ. He gains great ground when we are consumed with what others are doing, the success of the Church down the road, and even between individuals; keeping up with the Joneses, all of this type of competition is very harmful and not at all Christ-like.
Philippians 2:5 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” What mind is that? Jesus had the mind of a servant. He humbled Himself and came into this world as a lowly servant and we are to model ourselves after Him. Jesus showed us by example how to be a servant in the Kingdom. He even washed the feet of His disciples, showing them the importance of putting others before yourself.
The psalmist wrote, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1.
Character, not Competition
“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’”
Here, the disciples are all in an uproar over who is the best, who is the most liked (check those boxes!) and who is closer to The Teacher.
It’s all about Him; not about us. God is most pleased when we have an attitude of preferring each other before and above ourselves, possessing a childlike humility and promoting unity in the Kingdom.
An active prayer life, an attitude of gratitude and a focus on the needs of others will promote Character in our lives; there will be no need for Competition.