<<rivalry, contest>>

Understanding the nature of competition is an important issue if we are to have spiritual victory over Satan as we faithfully follow Jesus Christ. Satan is competing for our allegiance. Just because we have ‘given our lives’ to Jesus does not mean Satan accepts this and gives up trying to regain us. Jesus competed against Satan in the wilderness, defeating him with the Word of God (Mt 4:1-11). God has made the provision for each of us to live in victory, and using the words of Scripture is a major resource of ensuring victory for us too. As believers, because we are in Christ we are more than conquerors, yet we must by consistent determination enforce this against “the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”, so it is vital to put on the armour of God enabling us to tear down strongholds as we fight the good fight (Rom 8:37; 2 Cor 10:4; Eph 6:11-18; 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7). In the spiritual realm, we are competing against Satan in our own battle, as he knows our vulnerable areas. “Thanks be to God for the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” as we enlist His help (1 Cor 15:57).

A contest provides an incentive to work, train and play well to gain the supremacy over a rival. It is wholesome when it stretches one’s ability and initiative, bringing out the best, stimulating potential and providing a challenge to be victorious through competence and

Be the best you can for Jesus

skill. Paul uses competitions among runners and boxers to illustrate the importance of physical disciplines (1 Cor 9:24-27). In the course of everyday life, friendly competitiveness is healthy to develop our potential provided we maintain right heart attitudes. We are to “Do nothing out of rivalry or deceit…” (Phil 2:3-5). Other wrong motivators include covetousness, envy, jealousy, pride, or dishonesty driven by an obsessive win-at-all-costs mentality. Such a mind-set is detrimental to other areas of life and creates ill will, bitterness, inferiority or pride, depending on the outcome. We should celebrate personal achievements and even the successes of our competitors, whilst avoiding the negative outcomes (Rom 12:15).

While in the earthly realm, discipline is desirable, how much more in the spiritual realm where we can all be winners if we follow closely after Christ, “Run your race to win” (1 Cor 9:24). Give your all for the Kingdom of Heaven, throwing off all that would hinder progress so you will receive the everlasting reward God has for you (Phil 3:14; Heb 12:1). Jesus gave His all for us; we should endeavour to excel or standout in our devotion and efforts for His Kingdom (1 Cor 14:12; 2 Cor 8:7). Be continually competing against yourself to lift your game, for we are primarily answerable for ourselves and while our salvation is not governed by our efforts we will be rewarded for our service and input into His Kingdom (Rom 14:10-12; 1 Cor 3:8, 15:58; Eph 2:8,9, 6:8; Heb 4:13).

Both God and Satan are competing for the allegiance of each individual. As believers, we must be able to give a clear explanation of the gospel of salvation as we share with the unsaved, aware we compete with alternate world-views that present false claims compared with the truth of God’s Word (1 Pet 3:15). We need divine wisdom to know when to “explain the way of God more adequately” to those who are unaware of the full truth and when to “vigorously refute…proving from the Scriptures” those that oppose it (Act 18:26,28; Tit 1:9). Each person following whatever belief system he or she are happy with will not get them to heaven. Jesus said He is the only way to get there (Jn 14:6). There is so much dependent on going the right path, with much to gain or lose. Those who accept the salvation Jesus died to provide, and walk in righteousness, will spend eternity in heaven, while those who do not respond to the gospel, continuing in Satan’s sinful lifestyle, are doomed to the lake of fire forever to suffer the penalty for their sin (Jn 3:36; 1 Jn 5:11,12).

In the business world, competition is recognised as beneficial for society, as it regulates prices, is an incentive to develop new products and is a stimulus for excellence.

Competition is an incentive to do better

See also: armour (spiritual), compare/comparison, envy, jealousy, motive/motivation, pride, rivalry, spirit realm, success, victory.