My husband is a self-proclaimed Board Game Hater. Maybe “hate” is too strong a word, but if given the chance to play board games with me or get a root canal, Dave would likely choose the dental chair. Why does he dislike board games so much? It may or may not be because I’m so competitive. I may or may not have earned the titles “Qwirkle Queen” and “Yahtzee Nazi” because of my drive to win.
Do you have a competitive spirit? Can you sympathize with my need to win? I’m not athletic so my competitive spirit surfaces in less obvious ways, in ways far more concerning than just needing to win at board games.
You might have a competitive spirit if…
- You desire to win at all costs. Good Christian women don’t typically push others out of their way like you might envision during Black Friday sales, right? However, are you justifying sin or turning a blind eye to the means as long as you accomplish the end goal? Or, do your thoughts or conversations include “one-ups”? Repent if you cut corners, lie, or steal all in the name of coming out on top.
- You out-do others, but not in a good way. The apostle Paul tells us to “out-do one another in showing honor” (Romans 12:10 ESV) which is a proper form of competition because the recipient is being blessed. It’s about them, not you. But, for someone with a competitive spirit, the out-doing is all about us. It’s a self-centered focus. Instead, consider others as more important than yourself.
- You want the best for yourself. Sadly, this flowed out of my heart recently. In the midst of planning for Bible study leaders I was more concerned about having great leaders for the women’s ministry as opposed to the youth ministry. Realizing this was painful. I mean, we’re talking about ministry. Building the Lord’s kingdom. Bringing people to Jesus. But, my competitive spirit rose up and became more concerned about “my ministry”. In ministry we must want the best for others; this is fruit of a surrendered life to Christ. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” (Philippians 2:3)
- You drive others away. Most nights my husband politely declines when I ask him to play a board game. Our competitive spirits can drive away others in our lives. Aside from a friendly competitive game, in general, we must not compete within our families. If you’re married, be on the same team as your husband. Competing, or fighting against him, is destructive. Promote love and unity among siblings, not dissension. This same principle is true within the Church, the family of God. Take your thoughts captive if you are tempted to make comparisons to a sister or brother in Christ. Fight hard against the sins of jealousy in relationships with friends, in-laws, those at work, those serving with you in church. “How good and how pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psalms 133:1 NIV)
A competitive spirit might be great for athletics or board games, but when it becomes too serious, self-focused, and divisive then it treads into some serious sinful territory. Check your heart along with me. Are you competitive? Has your competitive spirit moved into this sinful territory? What about a more quiet competitiveness dwelling in your heart or mind? Are you looking around and comparing yourself with others (and desiring to come out on top)? Spend some time reflecting on the holiness of God and asking Him to reveal where this sin may be present in you.
I want God to change my natural instinct to win/be on top/seek my own good. Many of these instincts reside in my mind and only sometimes appear outwardly, but they are there regardless. If we have any competitive spirit within us, may we “compete” in glorifying God and serving others. Focusing upward on Christ and outward to others will ‘win the game’ every time.