I used to think I was competitive, but circumstances in my life made me do some re-evaluation and I realized that I had wrongly confused my driven nature for competitiveness. I love to win. I love to earn As in school, but at the end of the day, my strongest competitor is me. I don’t like to compete with others, and this truth made me feel “less than.” You know some competitive people. You may be one of them! And here’s some good news, God actually encourages competition. But probably not the competition that you’re used to. God loves competition that brings Him glory. He loves competition that removes us from our comfort zone and forces us to be better...for His glory. He loves competition that brings us joy...for His glory. He loves competition that is edifying and peaceful and kind.
But is that the competition we’re used to? I don’t know about you, but I’m more familiar with the other type. You know the type I mean. The prideful, gloating, demeaning type. The type in which people brag about their competitiveness to the point that they begin to argue with other people about how much more competitive they are than the other person. People who have to feel right, even when they’re wrong. People who find pride in the identity of being Most Competitive.
I’ve walked in each of those pairs of shoes, but none of them fit who I truly am, and I felt like a failure.
Can I offer you a warm blanket today if you’ve ever been in that cold place? You are still an amazing creation--an intellectual, talented, and gifted individual even if you are not the Most Competitive. God loves your service. He loves your driven nature. He loves your ability to handle the hard stuff. He loves it even more when you return the credit to Him. When you recognize Who helped you through those hard nights of studying, the grueling days of workouts before big games, and the months of preparation and hard work before your promotion.
When you consider your own competitive nature today, reflect on these things:
1. BE YOUR OWN COMPETITION. God wants your strongest competitor to be the one who stares back at you in the mirror each morning. He wants to help you become stronger, more joyful, more resilient, more holy. Not in spite of others, but for others. Your strength helps you serve. Your joy brings His light into a room. Your resilience and holiness can only increase His Kingdom during the tough times.
2. CHEATING IS NOT WINNING. Sure, it’s an obvious one, but is it? Have you ever done something with 50% effort just to get it done? You’re cheating yourself out of hard work that will refine you, but you’re also cheating God out of His glory. Your excellence is a testimony of His creation in you. Don’t cheat. WIN with excellence.
3. COMPETE FOR HIS GLORY. Your motivation for competing is more important than your “how” and your “who.” Motivation is your heart’s desire coming alive and moving into action. If Jesus has not warmed your heart, your motivation for competition will be for the pride of the win, rather than the gratitude for His grace, the glory of the Gospel, and the greatness of your God.
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. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3: 17, 23-24
Is your competition Holy? It is for Him?
Or is it for you?
Some verses for further study on competition:
I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 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. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1 Corinthians 9:23-27
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. Galatians 6:4
An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. 2 Timothy 2:5