Kingdom Competition?

John 13-32

Some time ago, a memory from my youth came to mind.  The memory was from a day when a girl I grew up with and I were outside playing, and she said that God loved her, after I said it.  Now understand that as a child (even now), God was my bestie.  He loved me to pieces, unlike those around me, and I wasn’t very fond of the idea of sharing Him with anyone else.  So when she said that, I became furious and said, “God doesn’t love you!  He loves me!”  It’s funny to think about now, but I was oh-so-serious then.  My God couldn’t be shared; He just couldn’t love anyone else. 

I’ve grown up and out of that mentality now, but sadly, many “grown-up” Christians have not… which brings me to our Scripture of the day: 1 Corinthians 13:11.

In 1 Corinthians 13:11, Paul says: “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”  In this passage, Paul is talking about the earthen realm (childhood stage) vs. the heavenly realm (manhood/adulthood stage), in regard to the need for spiritual giftings. However, although Paul is speaking of our transitional phase here, I find this passage applicable to our “right now” phase as well.  What do I mean?  I mean actual childhood vs. actual adulthood.  Some thoughts and behaviors, like mine explained above, can be understood when they’re coming from children, but not so much when they’re coming from full-grown, Christian adults.  The mentality of God can use only me, or God loves only me is to be left in our childhood stages.

John 3:16 tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believeth in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.  So you see, God loves the world (as love is His nature), not just one person in the world. 

Now, although that Scripture tells us that God loves the world, understand that not everyone in the world is a member of His family (John 1:12).  But we who have confessed with our mouths that Jesus is Lord, and believed in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead, and prove that with our lives, are.  And whoever is a part of His family is a recipient of His unconditional love, His divine favor, and His spiritual giftings.  He doesn’t show favoritism (Acts 10:34).  Therefore, there is no need for competition in the Kingdom; instead, there should be a host of siblings loving one another, spurring one another on to right actions, and cheering one another on in this difficult race of life. 

Romans 12:10 tells us to be devoted to one another in love, and to honor one another above ourselves.  Verse 16 tells us to “live in harmony with one another.”  If we’re jealous of one another, envious, and living in strife and malice, are we living harmoniously or showing love to one another as we’ve been commanded to?  No.  It’s impossible to love and hate a person at the same time.  The world may believe in the love-hate relationship, but it has no significance in the life of the believer. 

So sister, if you’ve found yourself [secretly] competing with any of your brothers or sisters in Christ, I urge you to confess your fault to God (1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13), to repent, and to trust that He has forgiven you (Psalm 103:12).  After you’ve received God’s forgiveness, be sure to forgive yourself; and remember: there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus—Romans 8:1-2.  (Note: It’s imperative that you remember Romans 8:1-2, because that enemy of yours, the devil, will continuously try to use your shortcoming against you.  He loves to magnify our shortcomings—Revelation 12:10.) 

To you who may be dealing with a fierce competitor right now, hear me well: firstly, remember that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers of the darkness of this world (Ephesians 6:12); secondly, do not repay evil for evil (Romans 12:17; 1 Peter 3:9), but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21); and thirdly, seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14; 1 Peter 3:11), and God, who is faithful, will reward you for your obedience.

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