Why You Should Quit Competing

I am fortunate to be around very wise and godly people on a regular basis. In fact, much of the material for this blog comes from their mouths, whether they realize it or not! I recently heard one of them say something that stuck with me. It was especially impactful for me because it was convicting! While the phrase “to honor God” is part of our company mission statement, I have strayed from this idea as my central goal. My friend’s quote made this obvious to me.

Quit Competing

To Honor God?

As I said, our company mission statement includes the phrase “to honor God” as the central goal of our company. It is this goal that drove me in the beginning of my journey to run the business for eternal impact. It is the desire to honor God in everything I do that was my drive for the longest time. Unfortunately, other goals have begun to distract me.

Before I go any further, take a look at his quote and think about it:

Quit competing and live to honor God. Both will result in our best. One will receive rewards in eternity and the other now.

Choose To Compete?

Do you get what he was saying? We can choose to compete rather than simply seeking to honor God in all we do. We can compete with other businesses. We can compete with our neighbors or our family members. Maybe you are competing with childhood friends or an old nemesis. Many compete with everyone, not satisfied unless they are the best in the world at a certain skill or measurement.

While competition can be a good motivator, we need to ask ourselves if it is the best one. We need to ask ourselves if competition brings out the best in us or not. Then we need to think about whether a better motivator could simply be the desire to honor God.

Different Approach

What if, before taking any action at all, you ask yourself if it is God-honoring? What if, when approaching a business strategy, you decided not to look at the competition to decide what to do? What if you decided instead to determine how to honor God through your strategy?

Clearly, God is not honored with mediocrity, right? So what would it look like if you made it your absolute goal to devise a business strategy that would honor God? It would have to be a strategy of excellence. Driven by this goal, you would not be able to accept less than the best, would you?

Difference Is Timing

Just as my friend said, whether competing or seeking to honor God, the result will be our best. The difference is in the timing and longevity of the rewards.

If our motivation is to compete with the best, then we will likely find reward in the marketplace. This reward will most likely be financial and will come sooner. However, if we choose to honor God as our motivation, then rewards will also come. They will just come in an eternity that never ends.

Maybe there are immediate financial rewards, maybe not. God does not promise that. However, He does promise to reward us in eternity (Matthew 16:27). He promises that our rewards will not fade or suffer loss (1 Peter 1:3-4). He cannot go back on His promises.

Lost Focus

I have often allowed the idea of competition to take my focus off of my goal to honor God. While there have been some positive results in some areas, the overriding result is usually one of frustration. In fact, that’s another result of competition…anything short of winning it all is disappointing, even depressing.

Of course, seeking to honor God will not always result in actually pleasing Him (you WILL miss the mark at times!). At the same time, the frustration is not nearly as debilitating when we miss this goal. There are satisfaction and joy that remain, even in failure to hit this mark.

So which way will you go?

Are you guilty of competing?

Which rewards would you prefer?

How will you honor God?

Photo by peshkov / iStock

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  • Very appropriate thought. As a former coach I understand the motivation there is in competition. However, from a Kingdom perspective I would agree, competition causes us to compare ourselves against others rather than what God wants from us. We set the performance standards based upon the accomplishments of others. We measure success or failure based upon how we stack up against the competition. However, is that what Jesus would do? How does humility and competition co-exist? Does God smile upon the biggest, strongest, fastest, and wealthiest? What determines when God will smile and say, “Well done my good and faithful servant?” How does our view of competition measure up to Jesus telling the competitive nature of the disciples when he said “the first will be last and the last will be first?” When is good enough, good enough?

    • Exactly!

      • Chris,
        Competition is good as long as we don’t take ourselves too seriously. In a couple of hours I will be watching the USA – Germany soccer game and I know my blood will be pumping. I want the USA to will because they are the underdog. I was born in Germany to immigrant parents so I could also be supportive of Germany. I’ll be watching the game at an event hosted by the German-American Chamber of Commerce here in Charlotte, so it should be fun… and very competitive. When the whistle finally ends the game, I hope that everyone can understand that it was just a game and it really isn’t important who wins.

        What I find to be far more important for my life is God’s will. I ask Him everyday to make clear what He wants for and from me. Sometimes it might be to be competitive in some aspect of life. But I need to quiet myself everyday and ask God to reveal His will for me and then be obedient to this.

      • DG

        I put everything in his hands! I take the first step in prayer, the rest comes from his spirit bearing witness with my spirit. Unclutter, so you can hear when he bears witness. I pray everyday for favor like joseph had with the pharaoh, that I would be a blessing to my company. If your heart is in the right place, pray and listen, he never fails!

        • “Unclutter” is a huge part of that, isn’t it?!?! Thanks DG.

  • great sharing, i can share our experience as our business (IT) is solely to fund another ministry. the idea is to honour God in what we do. without competing, we found out that we were competitors to others ! without trying to be the best out there, it seems that we are well recognised in the field, because we give our best in what we do and that what we do is to please God in whatever we do. the business structure is grounded in biblical principles..for us it’s not a question of competition, it’s a question of doing what God is expecting us to do and run the business as he would do so. Just an idea about competition..how would you measure up with another brother in the same field 🙂 who’s prayer will God answer ! God bless you all !