I don’t know why, but being competitive was never something I had to learn; I have always been great at it. So great, that I even apply it in activities that most probably wouldn’t consider competitive! I don’t care if we are playing in a sport’s tournament or if we are walking down a hallway, someway in my mind I am going to find a way to beat you! Some people mistake my passion for winning as cheating, but in my mind, you just don’t want to win as badly as I do! When people ask me why I am so competitive, I usually like to blame my “Grammee,” who is my mom’s mom. When I was younger, she and I would go over this scripture often and it quickly became my favorite scripture:
24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. - 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NLT
Winning is biblical! Maybe not in the sense that I was talking about earlier, but Paul clearly did everything he could in his life to make sure that he was declared a winner at the end of it. He was competitive!
What I have found in my own life is that I am always competitive in games, sports, and many other things that may or may not be important, but in many areas of my spiritual life I am not nearly as competitive. The Bible makes it very clear that everyday we are in a battle against a very crafty foe:
12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. - Ephesians 6:12 NLT
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. - 1 Peter 5:8 NLT
When I realized this fact, it stoked a fire inside of me. I hate losing, and I will do almost anything to keep from losing in a game, but I am allowing my spiritual opponent to win in many areas of my life that are far more important than sports or games. That’s not okay with me.
So I decided that if I am going to be declared a winner at the end of this life, much like an athlete disciplines every area of his body, I needed to start disciplining all of the areas of my life where I was allowing the enemy to win. For example, if I chose laziness instead of the discipline of making time every day to be in the Word and personal prayer time, that was a loss on my record. If I allowed that sin to creep back into my life, another win goes to my opponent.
What I realized was, there were a lot of areas in my life that seemed so dead because of how often I was allowing myself to lose. However, praise God for the new life He can bring into any area that we allow Him into! As I leaned into the grace of God and allowed Him to be my coach, I noticed that there were areas in my life that had been on the bench for far too long that God was beginning to revive into competitive areas of my life. With every win, I felt God reviving me into the whole and complete competitor He had called me to be!
Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal areas in your life that you have been allowing the enemy to win. Once those areas have been revealed, ask for His “mercies that are new every morning” and ask Him to empower you to get off the bench and compete again.
Maybe it’s been a long time since you’ve felt the awesome feeling of winning. Pick something back up that you’re great at, like a sport or game, and have some fun!
Associate Campus Pastor
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