Yes, competition can be a good, healthy thing when it is a common struggle for the same goal. It can inspire us to study harder and run faster. Being challenged and pushed to reach a goal is not wrong in itself. But, when sin starts to edge its way into the competition, the goal of personal achievement gets distorted into an obsession to show up someone else. Such competition can move our eyes from our focus on the intended goal and instead make us dwell upon comparing ourselves to others. This is not wise and this is where competition can become a bad thing.
2 Corinthians 10:12 “For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”
Competition has become so commonplace in our culture that we assume it is acceptable to God in any form. Scripture does not support that position however. The ideal taught in the Bible is cooperation, agreement, and unity among believers. God’s Word uses several metaphors to describe such cooperation among us children of God: we are a “building” with parts jointly fitted together, a “body of Christ,” a “chosen generation,” a “royal priesthood”:
1 Corinthians 12:27 “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”
Ephesians 2:20-22 “And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.”
1 Peter 2:9 “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;”
The gift of the Holy Spirit was bestowed on the early church as those who gathered reached “one accord in one place” – Acts 2:1 “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.” The apostle Paul spoke on many occasions of the need for unity of spirit – Ephesians 4:3 “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
When Jesus came to visit, Mary and Martha started using their gifts of service. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, loving and being loved by Him. Martha, a practical “doer,” started preparing food and a place to rest. However, Martha looked away from her goal of serving Christ, and she began to evaluate Mary’s performance. Both women were serving in meaningful ways. The problem came when Martha, in her anxiety, overlooked the fact that she and her sister were both on the same team and began to sit in judgment of her sister. Luke 10: 41, 42 “And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
The gifts of the Spirit are given to work in harmony with one another as the Holy Spirit directs, so that the entire body of believers is built up – 1 Corinthians 12:7, 11, 12 “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal…But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will…For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.” We are responsible for one another’s welfare; we are to pray for one another; we are called to be one-minded and to live in peace 2 Corinthians 13:11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” Indeed, there will be times when arguments arise. We are to give preference to one another–or to yield our own feelings for the sake of achieving harmony. Romans 12:10 “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” In other words, there are times when we must choose to “be the bigger person” and let some things go in order to keep peace and unity in the family of God. In times when I have had to do that, I have received Christ’s peace by lifting others up in prayer and letting God handle things, while I go about the business of working on things in my own life. We can take comfort in knowing that God always takes care of things in His Godly and just way, especially when dealing with His children. We are all indeed on the same team, we are just in different levels of growth in our walk with Christ. The mature believer will usually find it more beneficial to the Body of Christ to yield in order to keep peace and unity. We must be a good example for the babes in Christ, and those in between, and keep lifting them up in prayer as they grow.
I pray daily that I keep my focus on what God needs to do in me to shape and mold me to become the Godly woman He needs me to be. I pray God help me to never be a hindrance in the growth of His family. A verse that is very helpful for me is Psalm 119:165 “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.” For if I am truly seeking to grow to be more like Him, I am spending time in and loving His Law/Word, and I find things that would have offended me before just kind of roll off like ‘water off a duck’s back.’ That is not to say that we don’t have feelings and should not feel pain when we are wounded. God’s Word is alive and it will meet all our needs if we have it hid in our hearts and turn to it daily.