Does the Bible address competition?
The word competition is not found in scripture. Perhaps that is because competition is contrary to the nature of God. God calls each of us to live a vertical life with God. Our provision is provided for as a son or daughter of God. Vocation and provision is an aspect of our calling. He says that all our needs will be provided for: “And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:19-20).
Competition means that you are focusing your attention on others instead of your Heavenly Father as your provider. Our relationship is to be lived out of a vertical dimension with God. When we begin to consider competition begin to move into a life of fear and control. Fear drives us to worry about other factors outside our control.
Paul describes the Christian life as a race. “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it” (1 Cor 9:24-25). When you are in a race, you do not worry about the competition. You are to run as fast as you can and let go of the outcome.
Some of us consider our competition as enemies. If so, God gives us clearly defined admonitions about how we are to view our enemies. Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Mt 5:44).
Jesus forgave all of his enemies: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). He went even further and said that if we do not forgive our enemies, we will not be forgiven by our heavenly Father. "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses" (Matt 6:14-15).
Another important factor regarding competition is to realize that God has already reserved for you His portion of provision based on your calling. “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Ps 16:5, 6). It is important to understand our unique assignment from God and to be faithful to fulfill it. Paul understood his assignment and he understood that he could go outside that assignment as well. “We, however, will not boast beyond our proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the field God has assigned to us, a field that even reaches to you. We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the Gospel of Christ. Neither do we go beyond our limits by boasting of work done by others” (2 Cor 10:13-15).
You see, God has already preordained when and where you would live on earth and what you would do for a living. “He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:26;28). John the Baptist understand this when he replied to the disciples as to whether he was the messiah: “To this John replied, ‘A man can receive only what God gives him from Heaven’” (John 3:27). He knew his place in the story.
God says He will teach us to walk with Him to receive all that He wants to provide for us. “Thus says the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy one of Israel: ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go’" (Isaiah 48:17). When the people of Israel came into the Promised Land, they knew provision was rooted in obedience, not skill, ability or their ability to strategize to defeat their competition. God alone would be their source. “I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant” (Josh 24:13). Sometimes they received more than they deserved, other times they received less than what they desired. The truth is we must all understand God provides what we need, when we need it as we obey His direction in our lives. Stay vertical with God and you will see His provision for you.
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