The other day, one of my daughters came to me with a dilemma. For about six months now, she has been learning to play an instrument. Her dad and I have been so proud of her diligence because she has been regularly practicing and increasingly getting better at it.
Her dilemma was this . . . she was feeling a bit upset because one of her other siblings, was now taking an interest and was wanting to play the same instrument as her. She explained to me that she finally had a skill of her own, and wanted to be the only one playing this particular instrument.
My heart went out to her and I thought this a good opportunity to share a bit with her on the nature of competition. It seems we are all hard-wired to have a competitive spirit (some more so than others).
There seems to be this inborn competitive nature we are born with and for some reason or another this competitive nature really seems to manifest itself among siblings, especially same-sex siblings.
When I think of the nature of competition, I always think of the story in the gospels where the disciples were arguing among themselves, “Who would be the greatest in the kingdom.” Here Jesus was predicting his death, and his closest earthly allies were arguing who was the greatest among them (so like our sin nature).
In Luke 9:47-48, Jesus responds this way: Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them,”Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”
God’s kingdom is so upside down from the world’s system. God basically says, humble yourselves like this little child. He also says that the least among you will be the greatest.
When it comes to sports, competition is great. It teaches you to be a team player and there is value in that, but when we compete against one another for selfish reasons, superiority and rivalry, competition can be costly and is sinful.
Sin focuses on the big “I” (which means me, myself and I) whereas to be kingdom minded and to think like Jesus does, we need to be “others focused.” It’s trying to see things from God’s perspective and doing whatever is best to build God’s kingdom. As believers, this is the battle we all fight daily.
I assured my daughter that God would reward all of her practice and diligence and that she was already inspiring her sister, which is why her sister was now wanting to play in the first place. I then asked my daughter how she thought Jesus would act in this situation. My daughter hugged me and then went straight to her sister and proceeded to help her sister with the instrument.
I’m so thankful for the power God’s Word has on hearts and minds. Lord help us to me more like you. Help us to humble ourselves and to be other minded and to seek to live as you did. Thank you for who you are and for all that you do for us. Thank you for sending Jesus to die for us, help us to daily die to self, so that we can live for you. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:3-4
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. Luke 14:11