By Loren Due PhD, DMin
August 25, 2019
Is competition a way to win souls for Christ? Is competition a way to beat the devil at His game? Is competition a way to bring people together? What is the real value of competition if any? Is it time for the organize church to stop and say enough is enough and censer those who practice competition among the congregations? Are you competitive in your local church or are you a team member?
If you have made it thus far, you understand and know that I am concerned about the spirit of competition that rages in some congregations and among some. It is interesting to visit different congregations around the country and observe competitive behavior among some leaders. This is one of the many distractions the Devil uses to divide and conquer leadership. At some point we may do an article on distractions of the Devil – they are many.
Understand the work the Devil is to get you and me off our main functions, which is to glorify God and bring sons and daughters to the kingdom of God. Living for the Lord requires dedication and commitment with the understanding that He wants you and me to enjoy our time on the planet but remain committed to Him.
As one person who is committed to God enters a congregation with the right intent, a fellow elder begins to compete with them to take control of things. The competition leads to the elder being embarrassed and shammed right out of the church. One down and more to go, is it necessary to remove the competition spirit and those negative spirits associated with it. Some of the spirits associated with the competition spirit are envy, strife, jealousy and the like.
Another scenario is a member of a congregation marries the pastor’s daughter but some men in the church thought she was to be their wife. Whenever the husband is with other men from the church, they are always making snide remarks. One of the most common competitive scenes from the church is husbands and wives competing with each other to see who has what. The spirit of competition raises its ugly head throughout the congregation in very subtle ways; just enough to rise tensions among some of the husbands and wives.
The case of the husband who did not make enough money to buy his wife a new outfit every Sunday to keep up with the Pastor’s wife who wore something different each week. The spirit of competition caused many of the couples not to be spiritual, which in turn had a negative effect on how the church operated. Some Pastors driven by politics rather than the Holy Spirit had difficulty when fellow pastors bought new cars or homes for their wives.
I believe the most damaging effect of the spirit of competition is the behavior among Christians who are gifted and they spend time comparing their gift to each other. This competitive behavior occurs in the pulpit, the pews and among the laity. The scripture teaches us in Romans 8:37 (KJV) 37 Nay, in all things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. A recent article in Harper’s Index offers some insight into men and competition: Average percentage points by which a male sports fan’s testosterone level rises when his team wins is 20 %; and the average points by which it falls when his team loses: 20 %.
Another very devastating place the spirit of competition appears is between husband and wife in marriage when they are competing with each other rather than doing their job and working together as a team in the marriage. People in congregations, families and groups find themselves competing against each other to the point where sometimes it is not friendly competition.
The Apostle Paul admonishes us in I Corinthians ninth chapter verses 24 through 27 to understand what happens to a person in a race. He makes it clear that one person receives the prize for first place and so it is so for our lives we are really competing against ourselves not each other in this Christian journey. He goes on to stay that the competitors in a natural race do all they can do to win the prize – whatever it takes. He turns the concept around to focus on himself in that when he enters the race he enters the race or situation with sincere determination to win. To win simply means to be successful. As a winner, he takes control of his body; he does not allow his body to dictate to him.
This is a major argument among some people who believe we cannot control our body, but I believe we can do according to Philippians 4:13 (KJV) 13 I can do all things through Christ which strengthened me. This I believe is possible through the gift of the Holy Ghost and fire that one receives according to Acts 1:8 (KJV) 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. The power of the Holy Ghost and fire along with our desire to do what is right is enough to help us be the winner we desire to be. We can control our flesh with help of the Holy Ghost. According to Jesus, the Holy Ghost is our comforter.
After the Apostle Paul expounds on the controlling his body he makes it clear that he runs with certainty and not wavering; but he takes it a step further to clarify that his efforts are accurate and precise. He does not beat air but hits his target all the time. We can be precise with the help of the Holy Ghost. He finally let us knows that he brings his body under control with the help of the Holy Ghost. How do I know that because the Apostle received the Lord Jesus Christ and was filled in with the Holy Ghost in Acts 9:17 (KJV) 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
I believe one filled with the Holy Ghost he or she will have less desire to operate in a spirit of competition but rather in a spirit of unity and oneness. When believers walk in the Spirit as instructed by the Word of God, there will be less spiritual competition and more unity in families and the church.
Are you willing to release the spirit of competition from your set of behaviors?
Are you willing to see how many people you can bring to Christ?
Who will you witness to first?