Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else
John Lennon sang a song called Imagine. In one of the verses, he sings:
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
Basically, he is saying what if we could get rid of all of our differences and have no competition. Now, he also goes on to say he realizes he is just a dreamer, but he hopes more people have this dream too.
Competition and differences are a part of life. As you read this, I am competing for your time. I mean there are million other things you could be doing, right?
So what does the bible say about competing or competition? Well I found a couple of references
1 Corinthians 9:25
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.
2 Timothy 2:5
Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.
and then there, of course, are some on running a race
2 Timothy 4:7
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
1 Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
Then there is my favorite
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us
I love this verse because for me one of the biggest hinders is the competition itself. I want to compare myself to everyone around me.
I was a marathon runner and one thing I learned early on was to quit comparing myself to everyone else and work on my own personal best. When I concentrated on what everyone else around me was doing I would just get frustrated and angry because I couldn’t match their abilities. When I concentrated on competing with myself I would find victories over time I ran just a little faster or longer.
My competing with everyone around me became a hindrance that led to a sin of jealousy and envy. I began to get angry and others. It is so easy to fall into that entanglement and the world does not help with this. Just turn on the TV, log on to social media or open a magazine and you will see some beautiful woman who has it all together. All of a sudden you look at yourself and you are too short, too tall, too fat, too thin. Your kids aren’t perfect enough. Your spouse doesn’t love you enough. Your house isn’t fancy and way too messy. You need more money for a new car or fancy vacation. There are millions of other comparisons you can make.
Let’s take a moment with John Lennon and imagine there is a place where we don’t compare ourselves to others. Instead, we just work on competing with ourselves. We take each day to make it a little brighter than the day before. We move a few steps closer to a goal we have set. We celebrate our victories each night when we realize even if the day wasn’t perfect, we survived it and are going to get up tomorrow and try again.
Let’s test our own actions. Then we can take pride in ourselves alone, without comparing ourselves to someone else. (Galatians 6:4)
We haven’t finished the race, but we haven’t quit either. That is a victory worth celebrating!
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