It’s Not a Competition
He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions, and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain. 1 Timothy 6:4-5
Competition is an inherent part of the gym to which I belong. Not everything is supposed to be a competition of course, but still, those of us who are prone to being competitive tend to make it that way. We have a joke, while stretching and warming up – Warming up isn’t a competition, but if it was, I’d be winning. So, I enjoy competition, and when I keep it in the appropriate context it can be healthy.
Not everyone enjoys competition however, and though I try to contain it, I don’t always keep it in the appropriate context. Sometimes I push competition on those who have no interest in it. Then, it’s just aggravating and annoying. Sometimes my desire for competition spills out into the rest of my life, manifesting as being argumentative and disagreeable. As much as I don’t like to admit it, there are times at home when I argue simply by impulse. My wife or kids will say something, and my first response is to object or debate. I may not see it as being competitive, but it’s certainly combative, stemming from my need to win and prove myself right.
This is the unhealthy, destructive personality trait of which Paul wrote in today’s passage. In it, he described those who don’t follow Christ, but rather seek to promote themselves. They create controversy, arguing with everyone about everything. They’re likely very intelligent and know the scripture, but they use it to seek theological debates and they must win at all costs. Their need to be right continually produces dissension, conflict, and friction in the church, which Paul said is evidence, not of their scriptural knowledge, but rather of their self-centeredness and spiritual depravity.
I’ve been there. Just as I must try to win at the gym, I’ve felt the need to win at home or at church. Home and church aren’t supposed to be places for competition though. They’re meant to be places of unity and peace. I only promote unity and peace though when I abandon myself to follow Christ, seeking the good of those around me.
In our need to win, we pursue ourselves above all. In truly seeking God’s will though, we abandon our need to be right and to win all the time. When it comes to family and church, it’s not supposed to be a competition. It’s meant to be a community of those seeking God instead of themselves.