Lesson (vol.15)
Competition ... love or war ?



Here I am thinking about the Olympics and how all these people come from all over the world to compete so they can bring glory and honor to their respective countries. The premise is that this is all done in a "spirit" of camaraderie and to promote peace, but is that really what it promotes?

Competition, regardless of it's form, has as it's goal of piting one person against another person in some test of prowess which leaves one a "winner" and another a "looser". It is a forum by which individuals perfect their "discipline". Another possibility is that of competing against one's self in a quest of perfecting one's self.

None of these values are supported by Scripture.The Bible teaches exactly the opposite of everything the Olympics teaches and stands for. The idea that piting one person against another to determine which one is best strikes at the very heart of what Jesus said in His commandment to love one another. (Jn 13:34) It also flies in the face of another one of Christ's examples; that of washing the disciples' feet and then he said,"And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all."(Mk 10:44). The very nature of competition is not at all that of peace or love for your neighbour; it is one-upmanship, to defeat the other in order to be a "victor". In this quest to become victorious these "athletes" dedicate hours per day doing nothing but perfecting and glorifying the flesh in the hopes of attaining the ultimate adulation of the flesh on the victor's podium while the band plays the respective national anthem of the victor's represented country. A massive exclamation of pride!

Nowhere does the Bible promote pride and the proud.It is quite the opposite; the Bible goes out of it's way to discourage pride and the proud, and even goes so far as to say, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."(Prov 16:18). Competition does not foster love for one another, it promotes defeating the other, just like in a war. The whole purpose is get one better than the next guy for the glory of the country; a great big pride trip! The Bible says," Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble."(James 4:6).

So, the whole purpose of competitive sports is to foster a "spirit" of bettering the next guy. Ever notice how it is the most competitive countries that are the most violent ? There are numerous examples of people becoming very violent during sporting events, and this phenomena is not isolated to just one country or region, it is universal. Competition fosters ill-will towards others. People take sides for one group and against the other group. Competition fosters division and alienation, not peace and harmony.

It is this competitiveness in business that causes people to become unscrupulous (unprincipled according to Webster's) and to cheat others in the quest of getting one up and being the "victor" in the social race toward perfection of the flesh. The whole premise of competition is to defeat your opponent, to view him/her as an adversary that needs to be bettered. How does this foster peace or love for your neighbour, when all the time the mental preparation is that of treating the other as an adversary ?

To "loose" a competition leaves one with the sensation of being diminished in value as a person, which fosters frustration and frustration often leads to violent outbursts, either against others or against one's self. Not being "victorious" in the quest for glory in the eyes of man is a self-denegrating experience for many, and has even led to suicide in some countries where "winning" or being a "success" is tantamount to good social standing. This is so contrary to what the Bible teaches ! In the Scriptures we read that Jesus proclaimed in a parable about the talents where one was given a certain amount and another another amount and when the goodman returned he would take account of what they did with their talents, and what was the conclusion? Did the Lord say,"well done thou good and successful servant?" No! What He did say was," Well done thou good and faithful servant". To be faithful and to try is more acceptable in God's eyes than to "compete" with your neighbour in a vain show of one-upmanship.

The Bible says, "For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust." (Ps 103:14) God knows our weakness and accepts it. The whole idea of competition is to be "better" than the next guy, when the Bible teaches us that "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God"(Ro 3:23).

The Bible says," For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.."(1Tim 4:8) So although physical exercise does profit a little bit, it is not to be the main focus of our lives. It is far more "profitable" to concentrate on eternal spiritual values and acquiring treasures in heaven in the form of souls won to the Kingdom of God than a bunch of medals that attest to the person's dedication to their corruptible bodies.

May God bless you with His Love, Peace and Truth.



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