Thursday, July 3, 2014

When Competing Becomes Dangerous

Whether it’s basketball, air hockey or Words With Friends, I subscribe to former NFL coach Herman Edwards’ philosophy of competition: “You play to win the game!”

I’m a competitor. I love to compete. And whenever I compete, I want to win! Playing organized baseball from the time I was an oblivious little three-year-old up until the end of high school will do that to a person.

While I love to compete in the game room and on the basketball court, the danger comes when I take that competitive spirit and bring it into the other areas of my life -- my friendships, my workplace, or even my church.

In Philippians, the Apostle Paul acknowledged the dangers of doing so: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” (v. 2-4)

The problem with living in state of constant competition is that we start to view others as enemies. We begin to worry only about having more money in our bank accounts, leasing the fanciest car in the neighborhood or living in the largest house on the block. We engage in an arms race to be “the best”, only to find (too often when it’s too late) that we’re driving ourselves into a ditch of disappointment and isolation.

People are not competition. Life is not an “us versus them” proposition. Life isn’t about being better, richer or smarter than the people around you either. It's about loving God and loving others well. 

Stop keeping score in your life with your own scoring system. Scrap your scorecards.

Winning is serving others. Winning is helping them reach their own dreams and goals. Winning is helping others come to know Jesus and becoming more like Him everyday. Winning is leaving a legacy that will last long after we breathe our last breath.

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