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Ancient Greece popularized the display of mental and physical ability through the use of competition by organizing public contests to demonstrate skill. The resulting Olympic games were festivals held in honor of their gods, in particular to the god of gods: Zeus.
In the Roman coliseum Christians were sacrificed for sport
to the spirit of competition. And in some ways there are many people still
"being sacrificed" to the god of self -everyday subtly ways in the competitive
arenas of religion, politics and finance.
For the Christian who has nothing to boast -except in
the Lord, any display of skill is a misuse of talents over which we (as servants of God) have merely been given temporary stewardship.
The spirit of competition impoverishes mankind as countless men, women and children spend their livelihood to eat, drink, dress and drive impressive vehicles -all because of the spirit of competition.
I am not about to suggest that God is against good food, respectable clothing or automobiles but if our values were in the right place -if we truly placed our values on things which are above and not on things below, then we wouldn't be motivated by competition, we would not be so stressed and/or emotionally pulverized by our perceived "lacks" or "have nots" -nor would we be so easily corrupted by position and material prosperity.
The Apostle Paul learned that regardless of our circumstances in life, true contentment -as well as real success are not determined by power, position, or things we acquire. (cf. Philippians 4:11)
To find out where your heart really is, ask yourself -what things do I treasure? If we would truly delight ourselves in the Lord, then He and He alone becomes the desire of our heart -not things! If we set our minds on things above instead of on wealth and personal achievement, would we be such easy prey to the spirit of discontent?
Man's competitiveness fosters all kinds of feelings of inadequacy and discontent. Competitiveness causes man to fall prey to perpetual discontent over one thing or another -which is the catalyst of a spiritually oppressive cycle to which he becomes an unwilling captive.
Once we open the door to competition we also open the
door to discontent, which in turn often leads us to depression and regret: for perceived losses of what could have had, should have had or wish we had, or a mourning over what we think could have been or would have been if.... Depression works hand in hand with perceived failures (manufactured by competitive ideals) --fueled by past failure(s) -all measured things are soon measured by man's own misguided and stinted values. Covetousness invariably enters in -giving way to envy of what others are, jealousy of what they have, bitterness and resentment over what is supposedly lacking which leads to frustration and anger.
The result of competition is a most miserable, argumentative, vengeful, sometimes mean-spirited, alienated and isolated individual whose
competitiveness will eventually cause him to destroy himself and/or others.
Individuals who suffer from this type of oppression need prayer for repentance and need deliverance. Because of the ungodly spirits involved, unfortunately those who need to acknowledge the Lord the most in these things, become unwitting victims of their own resentment, bitterness and anger -which is often directed against their own selves and/or is directed toward God, because He supposedly "failed them" or because they supposedly failed themselves; often because they see themselves as having been wronged
or believe they have been cheated in life. All this and more is the fruit of the twisted perception produced by the ungodly spirit of competition.
In the downward process, unfortunately many run away FROM God instead of TO HIM Who is the only Source of help.
Only the Lord Jesus can change the heart and restore our "sight" -He replaces wrong values with right. Much of our dissatisfaction and/or discontent with our life's circumstances arises out of man's own false values that are often defined by competitiveness, -out of misplaced
and twisted temporal values.
"Newer, faster, bigger, better, etc." are buzz words which seldom fail to push our buttons of discontent. The spirit of enticement through media advertising bombards us. Coupled with perpetually changing highly competitive "styles and trends" by which we are lured into the trap of a never ending cycle of acquiring and accumulating things -things which Jesus said are of no value -things that moth and rust consume and thieves break in and steal.
Mankind isn't just motivated by competition, he is in
bondage to this spirit. The nature of the spirit of man (apart from, or un-submitted to God) will drive a man to try to excel through self-improvement and self-determination --whereas the Spirit of God seeks to remind the believer not to be influenced by these spirits -for truly "without Me you can do nothing."
The spirit of man strives, actually competes with His Maker for power and glory, whereas the Spirit of God (knowing these things will destroy us) says: "no flesh will glory in my presence."
Through personal and corporate achievements, by means of his competitive works, man strives to make a name for himself in the earth. But in answer to this vanity of man, God says: every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God.
Man says: "I will," but God says: "No, -MY WILL."
Man spends his strength striving to reach "his full potential" -but God tells us: it is not in our potential but rather in our weakness that HIS strength is made perfect. If we choose to continue in our own efforts -according to our own will, in defiance of His word and His will, to exalt ourselves as the world does -then the Lord will have to let us wear ourselves out trying.
Is it any wonder why the Lord Jesus Christ enjoins us
to come unto Him and calls us to learn of Him, that we might be set free of influence and oppression by ungodly spirits, and obtain the rest available to us in the will and purposes of God for us, in and through Christ.
When we insist upon striving in our own will, -God's loving reply is a firm but gentle: No, -as He bids us come rest in My will for you. I pray the Lord will bring us all to the place in His Son our Lord where we will repent of the folly of pursuing our self-will and learn to appreciate the perfect wisdom of a loving Heavenly Father Who says to His children, "No, -not your will, not your way but Mine...realizing that He does so because He desires to bring us into His rest which Jesus died to give us in Himself!
There is no end of the evil man can justify in the pursuit of self-gratification (otherwise known as success.)
Competition is part of the machinery with which man digs his own grave
-spiritually, and often literally.
In the competitive pursuit of position, power and/or money, -countless men, women and children have been beaten, maimed and even killed and the end of the carnage is nowhere in sight. If you think this is overstated, take a look at the corruption, vice and violence associated almost any profession. Look at competition for rank, position, power and money and you begin to realize how fierce the spirit of competition has become in the earth.. Yes it is the greed and lust of man, but it is fueled by that same "motivational force" that men like to say is just healthy competition.
In sports this spirit now controls the fans; as mobs of barely controllable "happy fans" chant team slogans and wildly cheer for
THEIR "favorite soccer team" -but you say: it's all just good clean fun right? Not when men become so possessed and driven by that spirit that they sell their souls to it, spend their lives in worship of it (sports fans!) -and are driven to lie, cheat and steal to have it -and even end up killing themselves and/or others in petty arguments because of it!
Do you really want to try to tell me that it is simply "overly enthusiastic emotional involvement" that leads to mayhem in the streets over a stupid sports event? Concerning things that are of no eternal value, things like numbers and statistics, and unrighteous mammon which are here today and gone tomorrow, -do you really believe that it is just emotions running amuck that causes pandemonium, chaos & mayhem to break out. These are principalities and powers and rulers of darkness run amuck.
And there is more than meets the eye to the claim that it is just high-spirited friendly competition that results in Malays -chaos in the streets of cities all over the world, -which is spawned by the so-called friendly spirit of competition!
This supposedly healthy spirit of competition shows its true colors as it fosters uprisings that result in death and in the maiming of innocent bystanders. All this and more in the name of competitive sports!
Outside the field of sports, in the name of scientific advancement, under the guise of seemingly legitimate competition for increased performance, higher yields and greater productivity, men have been known to destroy the lives and reputations of others to competitively advance in the marketplace of ideas. Many have even justified murder to order to protect competitive corporate secrets.
Man even manipulates nature in order to advance competitively! By specialized (unnatural) breeding processes, man has successfully polluted nearly every thing in nature and he has done so to his own detriment. With genetic manipulation fueled by the fierce competitiveness of man, he will eventually attempt the quantum leap from thoroughbred horses and perfect vegetables to the genetically perfect man.
In the final analysis God has no provision for man through competition: God never said compare the lilies of the field, He said consider them -acknowledge His provision for His glory in that which His hands alone have wrought.
God does not bless nor can He bless anything that is competitive. He does not sanction competition of any sort for any reason at all. The silence in scripture regarding competitive events among the people of God speaks loudly against any contests or competition among believers.
Our heavenly Father does not measure our achievements, abilities, skills or talents as MEN do. His ways are NOT our ways; His thoughts are not our thoughts... Men honor themselves through human achievement. While we are priding ourselves in what we have done with what God has given us, we would all do well to remember Nebuchadnezzar's fate. God abhors the proud. God humbles the proud but honors those who walk in humility before Him.
God is the Sovereign Creator. He can "make" anyone physically strong or outwardly beautiful. He can "make" anyone an instant genius. But because He gave us freedom of choice, He cannot make you believe in Him, love Him or trust Him.
God honors our trust in Him & His abilities, not our displays of our abilities. God is not honored in man's competitive display of his giftedness, no matter how anointed we like to think those gifts or talents are.
Adam is of the earth, earthy, and of the stones He is able to raise up those who will praise Him, by His Spirit and in His Truth! He doesn't want the fruit of our lips, or displayes of physical abilities or mental talents. He wants our hearts! And our praise of Him is in our obedience to Him, -and that, is not accomplished through fellowship with ungodly spirits in those things which are approved in the sight of the ungodly.
Our praise of Him is through Christ, in Christ, by
the obedience of Jesus Christ, His Son our Lord, in whom & by whom
the Father is glorified; Christ in us -the hope of glory. God is not glorified through the things of the flesh. God looks neither upon acquired skills nor upon the outward stature of any man, He looks only upon the heart. Do you know where your treasure is ? -for
their your heart will be also.