I am competitive.
An athlete in high school, I used to thrive on the opportunity to set swim meet records, block the soccer shot, or make a free throw. Competition motivated me to work harder and improve my skills. It did the same for my college studies.
But being competitive in marriage is dangerous.
Ever catch yourself wishing your marriage was more romantic, fulfilling, thrilling?
This usually happens to me right after I read a friend’s heart-warming social media post about her husband.
You’ve read these posts… about the husband who:
washes the dishes,
or plans a romantic date,
or listens attentively when his wife is speaking.
Almost immediately, a seed of competitiveness takes root and jealousy darkens my perspective.
The character attacks begin:
“Why couldn’t MY husband propose romantically like her husband did?”
“Why doesn’t OUR date night lead to long, intimate conversations like THEIRS does?”
RESULT? Resentment-stained attitude + bitter words = SIN
Or we might make comparisons in attempt to feel better about ourselves:
“My marriage isn’t perfect, but at least it’s better than THEIR’s!”
“Thank goodness MY husband doesn’t act like that other guy!”
RESULT? One big, fat, false sense of superiority.
In addition to derailing our relationships, God doesn’t want us to be competitive and compare ourselves to others because it takes our focus off of Him.
We can’t bring him glory when we’re trying to elevate self at the expense of others.
Remember the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector in Luke 18: 9-14? The Pharisee was praying in the temple; comparing his ‘righteous’ acts to those of the evil tax collector. The tax collector also prayed, but his request was humble, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus tells us that the tax collector (not the Pharisee) went home justified.
How can we escape the sinful trap of comparisons?
- Recognize WHO and WHOSE you are. The Bible promises that because we believe in Him, we are children of God, “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (1 John 1:12)
- BELIEVE YOU ARE GREATLY LOVED. Because we are His children, we are loved without having to earn it or prove our worth. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1John 3:1)
- Believe you are significant in God’s Eyes.God is not finished working on us – we are works in progress, getting closer to the women and wives He designed us to be. “for we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10)
- Focus on Jesus, not anyone else. God created us to worship and bring Him glory – we can hardly do those things while our attention is focused on competing with others.
So, be on guard against competitive triggers – and ask God to shield your heart and mind from the temptation of comparison.
Check out the Competitive Gene Sunday message that inspired this blog post!