Is life just a big competition?

How high up the social ‘ladder’ can you get before you die? Modern society seems to be characterised by an endless race to keep up with the latest fashions, have more expensive cars than your friends, have the biggest TV screen on your street, and so on. Everyone wants to be the best, having others looking up to them. People are desperately trying to get social high standing, or gain more power and influence over others. This prevalent attitude is driven by selfishness and envy. Ever since Cain killed Abel, it’s been part of self centred worldviews. Fallen man is selfish, and as god of his own life, he cannot bear seeing others exalted over him; hence equality is championed by individuals who would rather not be ‘less than equal’ to others. Some even try and excuse this phenomenon with the evolutionary doctrine of ‘Survival of the Fittest’, in which the strongest members of a species increase and those who are weaker die out.

As Christians, our attitudes and motives should be the exact opposite of this! Philippians 2:3 says: ‘Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves’. If Christ lives in us, then our pride must be conquered and we must humbly love our fellow men. ‘Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4). So for a Christian, relationships must not be founded on envy, jealousy, or even equality, but rather on treating others better than ourselves. Why should this be the case? Because verse 5 of the same chapter (Philippians 2) commands us: ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.’ How difficult it is to have that mind towards others! Let us pray that God would enable us to become more Christlike in this respect. This sacrificial love should be visible both in the church and our daily lives, so that unbelievers may see a difference in us!

By Philip Mackereth

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  1. When you said '' Ever since Cain killed Abel, it’s been part of self centred worldviews.'' Were not Adam and Eve the first to be self centered?

  2. You are very right. the reference to Cain and Abel was mainly due to the fact that I had been thinking of the verse 1 John 3:12, which seems to include the idea of envy.

  3. Pride is, I think, the root of all sins. That would mean that it is the hardest to throw off but the most worthwhile fighting (if that is possible). It is amazing that when you look at your own actions pride lurks in every dark corner, behind all our evil motives. The thing I find most difficult about it is that you can do outwardly good things but if you do it out of the wrong motives (not to God= to your self) then it is sin.

    would it be right to say that everything apart from glorifying God is an act of pride? Excelent article BTW, Philip. Thanks a lot.

  4. Yes, Thomas, I quite agree with you. It is really difficult when you do good things but for the wrong motives. It puts into perspective just how sinful we really are in God's sight, doesn't it?!


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