Have you heard the phrase "friendly competition"? It's used when people compete, either in sports, or a contest, etc., to see who will come out the winner. It's not meant to get ugly, or to make the other person feel like a loser.
So what is it meant for?I think competition in and of itself isn't a bad thing. Sometimes it can make individuals push themselves to do their best. If there was no winning or losing teams, sports would be very boring. How would anyone know if they were really good at something, unless they have a comparison? My boys played basketball for a Christian league that didn't keep score the first few years, while the kids were young & learning the fundamentals of the game. Inevitably the first thing they would ask after the game was "who won?" Even as little kids, they wanted to keep score.
I was a very athletic, tomboy as a child. I grew up with my brother and all boy cousins. I played on a softball team for years, I enjoyed volleyball, and I was fast, so I won a lot of ribbons for track on Field Day at school. Growing up, I noticed that I only involved myself in activities where I knew from the beginning I would excel. I had to be the best at something, or I didn't want any part of it. Later in life, I realized that this behavior was a unhealthy competitive spirit. My need for approval and fear of rejection compelled me to never take risks outside of what I knew I could win.
Who wants to try something and fail at it? Not me!
Who wants to be made fun of, or ridiculed? No one!
Who wants to shine and receive pats on the back? I DID!
When it comes to your walk with God, competition is NEVER friendly! When we fall for the trap of comparing our lives with others in the Body of Christ, we end up in a "heap of deceit!" That's right, the enemy would have us believe that we are either better than others, or not measuring up, depending on who we are comparing ourselves to. Have you ever felt threatened by other's gifts being noticed over yours? What about receiving credit for things? Do you need to get the accolades to feel worthy? The Bible talks about when you give, do not let your right hand know what your left hand is up to (Matt. 6:3). This is because we want to store up our rewards in Heaven (Matt. 6:19), not here on earth.
we feel the need to compete with others in the Church? The Bible clearly says that God loves the world (John 3:16) and that He does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34). Still, it can be hard to grasp the fact that just because God loves everyone the same, it doesn't diminish how much He loves YOU! One of my favorite Scriptures is found in Psalm 139 where it talks about how I was made, how I can't run away from God's presence, and how His thoughts toward me are more than the grains of sand. Such wonderful words expressing how valuable we are to God.
As a parent, I should understand somewhat how you can love your children the same, yet they are still individuals. My boys are complete opposites. I interact with them differently, but I love them the same. I don't want them competing for my love or affection, or my attention.
Let's remind ourselves that we are one big "happy" family and stop trying to out do each other. Put behind all the childish ways, overcome all the insecurities and inferiority, rebuke the spirit of rejection, competition, self-promotion, and pride.
Let's get back to being "friendly" without the so-called "friendly competition".