I watched the ice skating competitions the year that Michelle Kwan was the favorite pick to win in the ladies division. She had many years of experience and was an excellent skater, but butterflies caused her to make some mistakes, and the gold medal went to a lesser known, less experienced skater. In the couples division the obvious winners were (at first) denied the gold because of faulty judging. It looks to me like competitions are not an accurate test of one’s worth. Why do these people compete, to prove they are better than others? Who are they trying to please, themselves or the crowd? Who gets the glory--they do of course. Who is judging--what makes them qualified?
Competitions are games after all. They can be ferocious or fun but they should not be carried over into our spiritual lives. James 1:17 says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above.” God gives us our spiritual gifts. God enables us to use them and excel. Realizing this should eliminate pride, competition, getting our feelings hurt or seeking approval of men. We do not need to compare ourselves to others. We do not need to feel envious of others gifts and abilities or feel inferior to them either. It is Christ that is performing in and through us.
We do not have to compete with others, but we still want to be winners.
What are we trying to win? Christ. Philippians 3:8 “Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”
Who are we trying to please? Christ. I John 3:22 “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.”
Who gets the glory? Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:17 “But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Who is the judge? Christ. 2 Timothy 4:8 “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
What is the prize? Christ. And if we win Christ we win everything! 2 Peter 1:3 “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue.” If you have Christ you have already won the gold!