Recently, I spoke with a Christian worker who felt that competitive and comparison spirit come over him. He had spent sometime processing the ministry he had had for the past twenty years or so and wondered how effective for the Lord he had really been.
Have you ever felt that? Of course you have!
Have I ever felt that? I’m sad to say I have. And more often than I care to admit. And it’s followed me at every stage of my ministry.
Until God put a stop to that in my heart and mind.
You see, a phrase that God has planted in my mind is this: stay in your lane! And it’s with this, that we find ways to put away that competitive spirit!
- Recognize God has called you to a specific task. Has he called you to preach? Has he called you to academia? Has he called you to missions work? The Apostle Paul was called to go to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15-16); Peter was called to the Jews; Nehemiah was called to rebuild the wall and in turn the community (Nehemiah 2:20); Moses was called to rescue the people of Israel out of Egypt and lead them to Canaan (Exodus 3-4), and the list goes on. God reveals what our specific task is, which serves as our polestar.
- Recognize God has called you to a specific place. Jonah was called to Nineveh, but he went the opposite direction to Tarshish in modern-day Spain. Yet, God steered his body and his heart back to Nineveh. We tend to look at other successful people in their successful churches in their large cities and wish we could serve in such influential centers. Some of you right now are longing for ‘what’s next’ rather than what God’s given you right now.
- Recognize God has equipped you with specific gifts. In Romans 12:3-8, Paul clearly outlines how God distributes speaking and serving gifts “according to the measure of faith God has assigned.” But those gifts exist, even if the ‘measure’ isn’t like another’s. No matter, it’s what God assigned. Be grateful for the gift!
- Recognize God has provided comrades in arms rather than competitors. In 1 Corinthians 3, what do we read? One planted, another watered, but God gave the growth. In 1 Corinthians 1:10-17, some said they followed Paul, Apollos, Cephas, or Christ–as if they were in competition. Yet, they all partnered in Kingdom work. Competition stayed off the field, for only Kingdom players were allowed to play.
That’s the interesting part about ministering in Denver: there’s not enough of us churches to stand in competition with one another. We have work to do, and we have to link arms with one another to get it done.
What about you? What are ways that God has removed the competitive spirit from you? What ways do you struggle with this area? Let’s help each other move through this together.