Monday, July 16, 2018

Spiritual Competitiveness

Spiritual Competitiveness

Competition. It is what drives people to excel in sports, business and all sorts of human activities. It is a good thing when it is kept in the right spirit. But we've all seen it when it turns mean, even evil, as competition descends into the hellish realm to subtle to extreme attempts to destroy "the competition".
In the kingdom of God competitiveness between others in ministry is even more troubling than when competitiveness in human attempts to achieve turn hellish. In the spiritual realm when we realize we are being competitive with our spiritual brothers and sisters, this is the time to go to war! The war against what is going on within ourselves!
We have to do battle within our own hearts and minds when we realize we are being competitive over something a brother or sister is doing and doing well. We have to arrest those peevish feelings against the person and realize that God wants more, not less servants excelling in doing good in His kingdom.
A great example of this is early on in Numbers 11 when there were 70 elders appointed to help Moses judge the situations the people brought to him. Young Joshua wanted Moses to forbid Eldad and Medad from prophesying because they did not show when the call for certain elders to come to receive a share of Moses' prophetic anointing. But the Spirit fell on them anyway in the camp because they were appointed among the 70, so they began prophesying in the camp.
Joshua didn't think this was right and wanted Moses to forbid them from prophesying. But Moses did not get competitive about God's anointing and told Joshua, "Are you jealous on account of me?" Moses asked in reply. "I wish all of the LORD's people were prophets and that the LORD would put His spirit upon them!"
Competitiveness in the spiritual community reeks of our human weakness. We have to overcome our own inclination to carry what may serve us well in human achievements into our relations with spiritual brothers and sisters where competitiveness does not belong.
One way to do that is when you recognize you are feeling competitive with what someone else is doing to forward the kingdom, instead of resenting them which will lead to acting in negative ways against them, we can overcome our competitiveness with them by promoting them in what they do. It puts a stake in the heart of the enemy to do this - and I'm talking about the devil, not our brother or sister doing well in their calling!
Several years ago a young man in Israel began to put out an email and website in Israel that I perceived as spilling over into what I have been doing for a couple of decades. In fact, he was taking it beyond what I was doing into the realm of what I had envisioned I would like to take my endeavors to but never had been able to. I recognized the feeling of competitiveness immediately and knew the only way to get over it was to do the exact opposite of what I was feeling. So I began to promote his efforts at every opportunity. I had to keep dealing with it in an ongoing manner until I was free of feeling competitive toward his work. Choosing to do the right thing in overcoming our weaknesses is an ongoing process although finally I did completely overcome the inclination to feel competitive with the work he was doing because I kept choosing to promote him whenever I felt competitive toward his work.
It is the absolute truth that God wants 
more of us spreading the word, not less. 
He wants more of us to excel, not just one.

Even when donations are involved - and this is a particular issue I think in Israel because the ministries have to fight the feeling that they are in competition for the meager amount of international donations available. We MUST not fall into the trap of hellish competitiveness over the gifts and anointing of God that rest on our brothers and sisters in the ministry. We have to do war in our own minds and hearts to conquer this enemy (competitiveness) of the work of the LORD. When that feeling rises, we must purpose to do the exact opposite of what our feelings are telling us: instead of tearing them down, we must lift them up.
The two graphics above illustrate what I am talking about. In the first ALL are running the race with excellence at different levels. It doesn't matter that one is ahead in this colorful group of runners because ALL are accomplishing the things of the kingdom of God.
In the second graphic, only one color runner is lifting up and ahead of all the colorless runners. When we run with spiritual competitiveness it hampers our efforts, our efforts remain 'colorless' while the one we are against continues to get the work of the kingdom done anyway.

Better that we all run our own race and all do well. Let the competition for donations fall into the trust of the Lord to meet our need instead of trying to grasp for it through competitiveness.

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