Day 85: Keep the Monsters Out
Key Verse to Read and Treasure
They were beginning to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the king and great men lord it over their people, yet the yare called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different.” (Luke 22:24-)
When my husband and I were first married we lived in a townhouse in an apartment complex. A few doors down, on of our neighbors had a small black puppy who would run up and down the yard. He would stay outside most of the time. He was never chained or put on a rope, yet he wouldn’t go very far.
Sometimes when I would go out to get in the car he would run up to me and wag his tail. At times when it was raining I would go to the door, whistle to him and he would come inside out of the rain. I would give him my husbands leftovers and dry him off with warm towels. That little puppy and I became pretty good friends. I saw the cuteness in him but my husband wasn’t completely sold out. He felt suspicious of him from the beginning. I felt he was jealous especially since it was mostly his leftovers the puppy got to eat.
Several months went by and the little puppy grew and grew. I can remember one day when he was getting pretty tall, seeing him running in the yard and going over to him to say hello and pet him and he did something totally unexpected. He did not wag his tail. He did not run up to me playfully. He growled at me and snapped. I was startled and backed off.
The disciples were having a debate among themselves. They were debating who was the greatest among them. Jesus squashed that argument right away.
Make no mistake competition is an attitude and spirit that can get dark and nasty very quickly. It starts out innocent enough but it doesn’t take very much for it to turn on you. Next thing you know it’s birthing babies like jealously, envy, hatred, resentment, theft, cheating… It is an instrument the devil pulls out of his treasure chest often because it reaps good results.
Jesus could not let his disciples go down that path. The next thing would have been them measuring who was the greater preacher and teacher. Who had the most members. Who was more effective with evangelism…
Wherever competition goes it starts trouble, sows discord, and divides. Whether its in relationships, between husband and wife, among siblings, business partners, the workplace, in churches and ministry teams. Once it enters in its hard to get out.
God is not a god of discord or division but unity. Since we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and since we are all in need of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness we cannot be better or higher than one another. As Paul writes we are all in the same boat and even good works have been arranged in advance for us to accomplish so that no one can boast. Once again referring to Paul who reminds us not to think too highly of ourselves.
We are all branches on the Vine and no branch can be better than another. We can be grateful and rejoice to have the Vine to draw from and the same Spirit to be filled with. And this should be enough to keep us humble and having a right perspective about who we are. We are either all great in Jesus and none of us are great without him.
Jesus, in your wisdom you hushed and squashed the spirit of competition right away. Help us to be more aware and discerning when that kind of spirit threatens to divide us. May we respond as quickly and forcefully as you. Amen
Is there anywhere the spirit or attitude of competition is trying to creep in and cause discord? Can you be as forceful as Jesus in dealing with the spirit of competition?