From the moment we are born, we are nurtured and shaped into an overly competitive and selfcentred, “survival of the fittest” mentality – if not by our immediate families, then the societies we grow up in. We are told that weakness is not an option and second place is not good enough. We develop personal agendas to be “the leader” and “the best” in every context of life – to be “top dog”. I say nurtured and shaped because when God created man, His plan was not to throw us in a spherical cage and watch us tear each other apart like a dog fight. If you’re a sibling or the last born in your family like me, as you grow up you will discover the bittersweetness of sibling rivalry; the amount of times I’ve been compared to my sister and vice versa. What about extended families, relatives and even amidst so-called “friends”? Behind closed doors this cousin is being compared with that cousin, this aunty with that aunty, and the success of that family or friend is being weighed against the other.
It was never His plan in Eden to pit us against each other. Contrary to what we are taught within society and even our education system, “survival of the fittest” isn’t innate to man, God did not place it in us from the beginning as is often suggested today. Sin is responsible for this attitude and approach to life. Cain murdered his own brother, simply because God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected his. I can’t imagine what possessed Cain to decide his brother needed to go. God rejecting Cain’s offering had nothing to do with Abel’s offering, it was never a competition! But Cain saw otherwise. Other examples of this competitive attitude include Jacob and Esau, Saul and David, even the Apostle Paul and Apollos who early Christians tried to compare against each other:
For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
We are created to succeed. If you look at God’s command and unction to Adam and Eve before the fall, and Noah after the fall – it doesn’t change.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
The splendor on earth is already ours, the earth was created for us all to cohabit, survive and thrive. We can all be fruitful and mutliply, and replenish the earth. But what a “survival of the fittest”, competitive attitude teaches us is that some how there isn’t enough oxygen or provision for us all, so secretly we are threatened by our counterparts’ success and insecurity festers in our hearts. This frame of mind leads to envy. At times not so secretly, we compete unnecessary with others in our work place, family, industry and even ministry; anyone doing “better” than us or simply doing well is a threat.
There’s a Gospel singer that I admire so much, her music always ministers to me! For the longest time I’ve been waiting for her to release new music – it’s been years -and I used to think, Gospel music really needs her input! So you can imagine, I was beyond excited when I saw an Instagram post of her announcing the upcoming release of her brand new album. After it sunk in that I would have amazing new worship music on my playlist, I thought about another female Gospel artist already doing very well – and within me I created a competition between the two of them.
Even in the Church, and by Church I mean the body of Christ we have believed the enemies lie “survival of the fittest”. Well of course there can’t be two gifted and anointed female Gospel worship leaders releasing edifiying music and impacting lives at the same time because…? There is no because. God convicted me in the middle of my thoughts. If you struggle with envy and I know I do at times, then what God showed me will definitely bless you.
He took my mind back to this scripture Matthew 9:36-38
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Christ is The Messiah and even He saw the need for more labourers! The truth is if your goal is to fulfil your God-given purpose and destiny then that means being a witness for Christ irrespective of your sphere and winning souls for the Kingdom of God – fulling The Great Commission. So then our prayer should be for more God-fearing anointed ministers, prophets, preachers, worship leaders, actors, film makers, business men and women etc. to join in the work. When someone comes on the scene that is like you in your work place and people perhaps make the comparison, don’t be threatened by them, they can’t “take your place”, instead praise God and encourage that individual so that God might use them also as He is using you. Because in truth, the harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few.
My prayer is that God in His mercy would work on our hearts and undo the poisonous mindset we may have developed, so that instead of competing with one another, we will encourage one another in doing the will of God and fulfilling His divine purpose for our lives, to the glory of God Almighty in Jesus name amen.
Peace and Love ❤
‘ “You shall not make for yourselves an idol, nor any image of anything that is in the heavens above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow yourself down to them, nor serve them, for I, Yahweh your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and on the fourth generation of those who hate me.” ‘
Speaking from experience, I have, in the past put many relationships and material things before God, but more specific to this post, I have idolised boyfriends and what I failed to understand then was that, God is a jealous God.
You spend every waking moment thinking about someone continuously, you spend 12 hours of your day devoting your undivided attention to them on the phone, skype, social network websites or even in person (with the exception of marriage) and not even managing to squeeze in a minute for God, to speak to him, to enter his temple, to say thank you or sorry. You speak solely about them and spread knowledge of them, whilst the gospel goes unmentioned, as if they will some how save the world by being your boy/girlfriend. Or worst of all, you forget about God completely, omitting him from your life and when in need, going to your boy/girlfriend for comfort, for companionship and salvation. When they finally let you down and they will, you feel so desperate, so helpless and wonder why – because they’re just as human as you and they’ll make countless mistakes.
(Raises hand) Guilty, I’m guilty of all of the above. Why won’t you fall into sin when you’ve made another sinner your whole world, the blind leading the blind, it is true that sin only begets more sin. And then comes the heart break, the betrayal and you run back to God and ask him why, well its because he’s a jealous God, he said it in the scriptures, he warned us;
‘You shall not make for yourselves an idol’
Why would he preserve something he did not create, better yet, why would he preserve something you yourself have positioned above him? I’m finding it difficult to put God before everything else in my life, I won’t lie and tell you its easy, but I can say that it feels good. Maybe not straight away; not instantly after you decide not to go to that party or a few hours after you refused to spend the night. But there is an undeniable relief that comes upon the spirit when you do God’s will and put him first.
I’ve come to realise that everything we do in life should have a superordinate goal to give God the glory. All our successes should be what we use to spread news of the free gift of reconciliation with God through Christ’s death and resurrection. Its hard because I’m not really sure how my, one day, getting married will glorify God’s name, but perhaps if I abstain from sin, if I approach a relationship in the manner which pleases God and I repent for the sins I commit along the way, maybe when I finally get married and I and my husband are presented before God, the angels will rejoice and his name will be glorified in heaven and on earth, because beyond the struggles with the flesh, a beautiful union has been formed. And those who know my past will know that God must have been a part of this, it could not have happened otherwise.
No relationship should be simply for love or companionship’s sake, it should also be to bring out the best side of your partner (the side that loves God and glorifies him), to be a blessing to them and them a blessing to you (gaining a stronger relationship with God together), and in marry them, depict the wonderful manifestations of God’s influence, grace and mercy. Relationships are not easy, they should not be created without absolute assurance, the should not be without Jesus Christ’s grace, they should not be based on selfish human needs, this is what I’m still trying to drum into my own head.
I pray that God the father help his children to wait patiently for him to manifest his love – to be our shepherd, for us to remain content as Paul was even whilst facing persecution for spreading the Gospel “the Good News” –
‘I am not telling you this because I need anything, I have learned to be satisfied with the things that I have, and with everything that happens. I know how to live when I am poor, and how to live when I have plenty.’ Philippians 4:11
And I pray that as you manifest your love Lord Jesus Christ, we will remain humble and continue to serve you diligently, your blessings will not cause us to be blinded by satisfaction and success, and we will not grow impatient, that we cease from praising you, in Jesus mighty name I pray, amen.