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 ❤
“What is Success?”
I was glad that Pastor Bayo wasn’t known for putting people on the spot during his sermons, as this question undoubtedly buzzed in and out of the ears of the congregation, forming big floating question marks over our heads. I could’ve given various examples of what I was sure success wasn’t: wealth, the clothes you wear, the car you drive, how many university degrees you have, whether or not you are in a relationship, and the list could go on. But identifying what success is, seemed like a complicated and daunting task, with opposing opinions on every side. In the world or from a worldly perspective, success is defined by possessions and material goods; a man or woman’s position, status, lifestyle, bank account balance or even other’s perceptions of them. But as Christians, as children of God, our success is evident in spirit, before God.
Galatians 5:16 -17
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
Our success is also evident in the manner in which we use our Spiritual gifts, Spiritual fruits and our God-given talents (- I will discuss in more detail in part 2). But let’s consider, our spiritual condition as a reflection of our success, then agreeably none of us will succeed without God. It takes the spirit of God to cleanse the inward state of a man or woman, boy or girl, and nurture it, there is no other “cure” or “quick fix”. The ‘spirit’ refers to one’s inward self, the soul, the heart. Our inward selves translate into our outward portrayals, behaviours and habits, sooner or later – nothing remains hidden forever. As Jesus said to the Pharisee whom he dined with, in Luke 11:39
“Now you Pharisees make the outside of the cup and dish clean, but your inward part is full of greed and wickedness. 40 Foolish ones! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also?”
Therefore, allow God to establish his work in your heart, to manifest his love in your spirit. We should yield to the spirit of God and let God rule over us. Regardless of where we are from, our nationality, appearance and especially regardless of our past – which if fixated on, can and does hinder success. One decision we can make, which will enable us to be successful, is learning to serve. In serving we invite God to establish the fruits of the Spirit in us, be it
So by serving as well as following other instructions from the Holy Spirit, God will elevate us spiritually and in our lives.
Luke 22:26 – 27 (Jesus speaking to his disciples about who will be considered the greatest disciple),
26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
As we serve others, with a pure heart, I pray that God will lift us to greater heights, rewarding us with spiritual growth, fruitfulness, and prosperity in our various walks of life. Just as David was elevated, from a boy shepherd to the king of Israel, and Joseph from a slave and prisoner, to a powerful man in Egypt, highly favoured by Pharaoh.
I pray you have been and will be blessed by these posts in Jesus name amen.
Stay tuned for part 2 …