Meaning: Rivalry, contest, game, event, opposition
So, in other words, division.
There is no such thing as friendly competition, just as there is no such thing as a painless broken bone.
Measuring yourself against someone just as flawed, broken and incomplete as you, instead of against the perfect love and will of God.
Instead, God talks about being “likeminded,” “unified,” on “one-accord,” being of “one body.”
This is such a racially, politically, socio-economically, ethically, divided time. Everywhere you turn there are debates between Christian and Muslim, atheists, gays, blacks, whites, rich, poor, and where has that gotten us?
We have all heard the saying, “Together we stand, divided we fall.”
God’s solution is simple:
Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV)
Love for Enemies
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Why? Because none of us are perfect. None of us created ourselves. All of us bleed red blood, all of us will physically die, and all of us will stand before God to be judged for our life on this earth.
When Jesus returns, the Bible does not say that He will be coming for the blacks, then the Jews, then the Christians, then the protestants, and the high class—it states that He is coming back for the church. Meaning a group of believers.
Social media has allowed this cancer spread faster and stronger, because we live in a world that encourages a spirit of lack, insecurity and judgementalism, coated in vanity, and masked as harmless connectivity.
This is a look at me–look at me, generation, who has taken their eyes off of God and put them on themselves and each other.
This is why there are so many mental illnesses and diseases, because we are more connected to Facebook, Instagram and Snap Chat than the source of life, from which all good things flow–love, joy, peace, healing…
This is why families are broken, real friendships are scarce and the body of Christ as a whole is broken. He died to unify us and show us that regardless of being a gentile or a Jew, he came to give life to all, who by believing in Him will have everlasting life. But, we quote the scriptures about prosperity to each other, in competition, instead of using the power to God’s word to bring lost souls to Christ.
We are distracted.
Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Colossians 3:23 ESV
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
Galatians 6:4 ESV
But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.
Luke 16:15 ESV
And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.
Galatians 5:26 ESV
Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.
2 Corinthians 10:22 ESV
Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.
James 4:1 ESV
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?
God anointed Saul as king, but Saul was always deeply insecure—meaning he did not trust God—which caused him to constantly look around instead of inside. He never realized that he was enough, and he spent years chasing another anointed man of God, all because he did not truly trust/understand the source of where ALL good things come.
Your good things, my good things, all of our gifts, talents, callings.
1 Samuel 18:7-9 ESV
And the women sang to one another as they celebrated, “Saul has struck down his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” And Saul was very angry, and this saying displeased him. He said, “They have ascribed to David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed thousands, and what more can he have but the kingdom?” And Saul eyed David from that day on.
Proverbs 16:18-19 ESV
Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Proverbs 8:13 ESV
The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Hebrews 12:1-3 ESV
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.
We don’t look at each other’s successes and say, “God is good,” we look at them and say, “God why not me.” It’s not that God has not blessed you, its that you can’t see it because you’re too focused on someone else.
Over and over, the word talks about toiling, and all sin rooting from the envy of your neighbor—vanity and chasing after the wind. Ecclesiastes 4:4, Ecclesiastes 2:22-26
In every story and parable there was one common denominator and that was that “God is GOoD.” He shows us through story upon story how His love is big enough, long enough, deep enough and strong enough to carry every weight, wash away every sin, and cover every person on this earth—no matter their race, religion, ethnicity or social class. God is and always has been for the people. Remember, He created us in love. We are not just here and God decided He would like for us to serve Him too. He created us in His perfect love. His plan has and always will be to give us life and that more abundantly.
We spend a lot of time questioning God instead of trusting Him.
If the heart attacks the body, the air circulation is cut off from the brain, which is the control center of the life of the body. How would we feel if God competed with us? We would never win and we would live pointless, miserable, taunted lives.
Amos 3:3 Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?
Yet, Gods instruction to us in Matthew 22:36-40 (NIV), when the disciples ask Jesus,
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
God never competes, as a matter of fact He refuses to:
You must worship no other gods, for the Lord, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you.
Watch the path of your feet And all your ways will be established. Do not turn to the right nor to the left; Turn your foot from evil.
The Ten Commandments
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make idols.
- You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet.
That person that stole your pencil in 1st grade is not your enemy, or that person that cut you off in traffic, or broke your heart, or talked behind your back, or ate your last slice of pizza, or didn’t come to your birthday party, or didn’t like your new hairdo, or stole your girlfriend, or got you in trouble, or did not agree with all of your decisions, or hurt your feelings, those are not your enemies, those are people, just like you, and if God interviewed every person you came in contact with in your life, you would be surprised what some of them feel you have done to them that you may have never realized or known about.
God’s instructions to us were simple:
In every situation, love, forgive and do not judge. He did not tell us to argue with the nonbeliever, force or convince them to understand God, or judge them for either. He instructs us to live as Christ, and Gods infinite love, mercy and power does the rest.
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
2 Chronicle 7:14
God’s Promise and Warning
“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.…”
Do Not Judge
How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Do not give dogs what is holy; do not throw your pearls before swine. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.…