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The Competitive Spirit!

Competitiveness is Good.

Time for some more truth... from me ... about me.  I am a naturally competitive person.   Apparently, he is a competitive person too.  

I was abreast of him in the jetway as we were boarding our airplane. He was ripped (muscles, I mean), and I was curious about the tattoo that showed only partially beneath his right shirtsleeve.  'Excuze me,' I said, 'what does the rest of your tattoo look like?'  (In case you did not know, most people who have tattoos like to talk about them--it is an easy conversation starter.) He proudly pulled up his sleeve and quickly supplied, 'It is a wrestling match between Jesus Christ and the devil.'  Hmmm.


Okay, that was a new one . . . right?  He continued, 'I wrestled in high school, I wrestled in college and this is a tat that means a lot to me.'  'Who wins - Jesus or Satan?' I inquired. 'Oh Jesus, of course,'  he responded, squaring his shoulders.  'So you're a Christian then?' I pressed in. He smiled easily, 'Yes'.  From there, we were off!  

My new friend, Ralph, knows what it means to compete; he also knows that the evil one competes for him, and he is not about to let him win.  Hmmm . . . I say again.  Such meaningful conversation - such an adventure, the Christian life.  


Yes, I am a competitor - and when there is a prize?  Yeah, baby. Especially the one I am talking about today. Our brother Paul had his eye on winning and the prize.  Consider this claim of his:  "I  run straight toward the goal in order to win the prize ."1


Then Paul gives us a few hints about how to truly be effective/competitive in the Christian life:

      "I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize

           for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us"2...

Paul knew the race would be won by pressing on - not giving up. . . 

   He knew that the race is won only through relationship with Jesus

      And the end of the race is what God is calling us toward...

           My friend, you too are called.  That is quite lovely, isn't it?

               You are not supposed to cast about aimlessly because you have a purpose,

                     and you have a divine destination.

                        Because as Paul declared,  we are citizens of heaven.


But in order to press on, we must forget the past4--let go of past failures, let go of past sin and guilt, let go of disappointments, wrongs done to us, hurts and heartaches, and look forward to what lies ahead.


And one more thing my young friend, Ralph, already knows.  In order to be competitive, in order to even show up on the wrestling mat, gotta be disciplined.  

Paul knew that too, of course, and I love how he expressed it, "Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified."5


Hmmm.  Not running aimlessly, not shadowboxing or beating the air. But disciplined. So good.

My youngest son, Danny, (pictured), started coaching Muay Thai in Boston in the last year in addition to his day job at the bank. One day while we were chatting on the phone, he casually slipped in, 'So my name is on a card for an upcoming fight.' Ugh. Yes, in the ring. Like his brother, Dylan, he loves the athletic challenge, the speed, the boxing, the kicking - and he loves to compete. It is a reason to 'get in the ring,' discipline himself, and work toward his personal best.   


How about you? Are you ready to get in the game, the one that matters most in life, the one that leads to heaven and an eternal prize?  Mediocrity feels cruddy, and if you stop to think about it, you know that.  Let's press on, let's give Jesus our best, our all . . . Let's live fully for him, breaking the tape with our chest as we burst forth into Heaven someday.  Whaddayasay? One of the great things about our lives in real time is that every day is a new day, a clean slate.


Competitiveness is good ~ especially when it calls us to lead with our personal best for Christ.

Check it out - brand new, so good - 100%...


Philippians, #19



1 - Philippians 3.14, God's Word Translation

2 - verse 14, NLT

3 -  verse 20

4 - verse 13

5 - 1 Corinthians 9.25-27 I love these verses!

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