Chambersburg, PA

The Spirit of Competition

two-women-bikes with words

Have you ever played a friendly game while hanging out with the girls, when it became obvious that one of them was overly in-it-to-win-it?

If you have never had the frustrating pleasure of playing a game with me, you would probably not be aware that I am one of those girls.

All of my life I have had an EXTREMELY competitive spirit. ALWAYS.

Whether it’s cards, kickball, or Jesus help me if I am playing the game of Quelf, there is one thing you can be certain of . . . I play to WIN! (side note suggestion – if you have never played the game Quelf, go out and buy it now . . . HYSTERICAL!)

Perhaps I developed this tendency from growing up in a house full of siblings, all vying for the attention of our busy parents. Or maybe I sought the affirmation or authority I felt winning gave me. Either way this contending propensity became a strong component of my core character.

At first glance that might not seem like such a terrible characteristic, but the hidden ugly truth is this . . . the spirit of competition is actually the antithesis of the spirit of Christ.

This spirit is a self seeking, self serving, and self advancing spirit. In a moment of achieving a desired result it sneakily shifts one from seeking to glorify God to seeking to glorify man, in my case wo-man.

If my competitive nature stayed contained to recreational games and sports it would not be so terrible, but what happens when it starts to leak into other areas of my life?

How do I know when this is happening?

Well for me, there are a few tell tail signs. Once jealousy, irritability towards my advancing sisters, or critical thoughts of them start to enter into my mind, I know there has been a perimeter break in my competitive zone. At that point the spirit of competition has creeped it’s ugly head out and attempts to keep the spirit of Christ unseen in it’s shadow.

I am embarrassed to admit that I have struggled with this, but at the same time I am comforted to know that I am not the only one.

Even Jesus’s disciples struggled with this self seeking spirit. Many times they disputed about who among them was going to be the greatest in the Kingdom of Christ. James and John actually had the audacity to ask Jesus, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory” (Mark 10:37).

What they were really saying was, “Put us in higher positions than everyone else!”

The word says that when the other ten disciples found out what James and John had asked they were indignant. The end result of members in the Kingdom competing against each other is always strife and division.

It was never God’s plan for us to compete in our calling because the reality is that the Kingdom of God is not a competition, its a collaboration. Its the whole body of Christ coming together, and working together in unity on the same team . . . team Jesus . . . for the same purpose . . . to glorify Him.

My prayer, with this admission, is that the Lord would forgive me, forgive all us that has ever made our ministry about us instead of Him. Just like the disciples all those years ago, that fought to be first in the kingdom, may we always be reminded of Jesus’s words, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

I pray we all grow in the spirit of Christ, for then we will surely see the advancement of His Kingdom.


diane square Diane Swan is a Professional Christian Counselor, Speaker and Blogger who is passionate about using her God given gifts to assist ladies in living victorious lives in Christ. She enjoys sharing true life messages that relate to the complex lives of every day women and leaves them feeling equipped to be more than conquerors in all their battles. Diane and her husband Todd are the founders of Seven Swans Ministries, an organization devoted to living out the gifts of the Spirit by offering a unique array of services to encourage, edify and expand God’s kingdom. Connect with Diane anytime: Facebook Pinterest – Twitter – Website

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