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Daily Boost

  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

October 29, 2012 - Competition or Cooperation?

By Ron Johnson

Competition is a fundamental part of human nature. Our competitive spirit touches everything about us. We love competition. Much of life is based on the competitive nature that we thrive on. The entire field of sports is based on competition, as is much of the business world. However, if we aren't careful our natural competitive nature can become distorted or out of balance.

Competitive imbalance rears its ugly head frequently within the framework of life. Unhealthy or unbalanced competition can cause division in any environment. People who are overly competitive often allow the smallest differences of opinion to turn into a battle they must win. These battles over time can destroy relationships.

Too many people are concerned about how they measure or stack up against other people. Everything is a competition to them, and everyone is a competitor. Their lives are filled with turmoil as they strive to outperform everyone around them. We must come to the realization we are not in competition with other people. Instead, we must understand we are each running our own race against Satan, the flesh and the world.

Indeed, the ways of God run contrary to the world and its system. The Christian life is described in God's Word as a race. However, it isn't a typical race. It isn't a competitive race. Rather, it's a race of cooperation. The truth is, within the body of Christ, the Church, we are not competitors running against each other but teammates running with one another.

If we are to be the people God calls us to be, we must control and redirect our competitive tendencies. The Word of God offers us valuable instruction and practical insight for dealing with the negative consequences of an overly competitive drive.

A story from the lives of Jesus and His disciples gives us an example of a competitive spirit that has become unbalanced:

"Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, 'What do you want?' She said to him, 'Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.' Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?' They said to him, 'We are able.' He said to them, 'You will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.' And when the ten heard it, they were indignant at the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, 'You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many'" (Matthew 20:20-28, ESV).

James and John were being self-centered. They were attempting to maneuver into a more favorable position in Christ's kingdom. They had allowed their spirit of competition to become unbalanced. Jesus called His disciples' attention back to true greatness: the greatness found in serving Him through service to others in His kingdom.

With God's help we need to come to the position where we want to be and do our very best for the right reasons. Instead of receiving the praise of those around us, we must leave the reward of our efforts to God and perform our duties to the best of our abilities because it's the right thing to do and not because of a selfish, competitive attitude.

The values of Jesus are not found in this world's system. The world competes for power and position. Jesus rejected those values and instead taught humility, service and love. In God's kingdom we are not in competition with each other. We do not reign over one another; rather, we are called to be servants.

God's call on our lives is not one to competition but one of cooperation.

— Ron Johnson is a freelance writer. He is retired from the Assemblies of God National Offices and Resource Center.

 

 

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