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Americans are probably among the most competitive people in the world. You see it in all sorts of places and in a myriad of forms. Whether its keeping up with the Joneses, or cattiness in the office we love to compete, and so we do. Now I am not against competition. In fact healthy competition is good for everyone involved, which brings me to the question. Just how can we describe or think of competition in a healthy manner? In other words, what is healthy competition?
Let me start by saying what it is not. Mindsets, attitudes and actions that engage in competition for the purpose of self-aggrandizement are unhealthy and sinful. For instance, publically running down your neighbor’s yard so that you can brag about your own lawn mowing skills is an example of sinful competiveness. Boasting about what a great day you had or how wonderful your house is or how great you church fellowships is, and how it’s not like those other churches who just don’t “get it” can all be examples of what I am talking about. Simply put competition is sinful when its aim is to build me up by destroying my neighbor, or his reputation or his anything else and of course, like any sin, it offers what it can never deliver. Glory, that which is desired in all of this, can never be achieved by self-aggrandizement. For the road to glory lies through the cross. Glory comes through dying and is never the product of human achievement. So we ask ourselves, where is boasting?
Now as I am writing this I am at least vaguely aware that I too engage in sinful competition. We all do, for sinful competition is, after all, a symptom of a larger problem. For at the end of the day we are all, as John Calvin put it, “idol factories”.
Which brings me back to the quest for glory and my exhortation to all. Seek glory where it may be found, by dying. Be as Jesus Who set His glory aside for the sake of another. Seek the glory of your neighbor and not of yourself, for glory cannot come from yourself. It must be bestowed. Humble yourself before the Mighty Hand of The Lord and He will lift you up.
Glory in your neighbor’s house, and in his messy yard and in his sometimes-unruly children. Praise God that some do not get it as you do. Love the unlovely and so prove yourself a child of your heavenly Father.
Grow up.
Be like Him.

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