2 Timothy 2:5
Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. (NIV)
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (NIV)
For me, healthy competition has always been very important in my life. Whether it is in business, sports, or other endeavors, I find that the dedication that occurs when I am deeply involved in something and truly challenging myself is quite rewarding. If I hold myself to a certain standard and create healthy goals, then I am driven and directed—I can get in “the zone,” so to speak— where I feel confident and empowered to accomplish the task at hand.
As king of Israel, David was in nearly constant warfare to defend the kingdom, constantly challenging his mind, body, and spirit, much like the athletes we see giving their all on the court and field each day. Of course we all know about his incredible battle with Goliath, and how his trust in God, not himself, brought victory. As we get up each morning, we face the battlefield. We lace up our shoes, put on our armor, grab our equipment, and greet the day, full of small battles every step of the way from frustrating coworkers to overwhelming schedules.
As we look for victory in our daily lives each day, we must still remember the responsibility we have to represent Christ with integrity. While a little competition is healthy—maybe we’re competing for a promotion or getting a little rough at an afternoon pick-up game of basketball—we should always remember our faith. In the heat of competition, first and foremost, we have a duty to refrain from cheating for advantage. Compete with purpose, not with spite. David was victorious because he trusted in God to bring him to victory, not because he trusted in himself. Remember that.
I strongly feel that fellowship that strengthens such thinking is important. God wants us to always remember that with Him all things are possible, as He is the one that will give us the strength we need to run the race and accomplish the goals we set in life. However, He expects us to remain faithful to Him in all things. You will not find victory in life unless you compete according to God’s rules.