The answer to the question in the title of this post, Animal or Apostle, seems like an easy one. But, in reality it is one of those “easy ones” that is easy to answer, but tough to live out, day to day. Would you rather live with animal instinct as your guide? Or by following Jesus and working to emulate His every action. Clearly, Jesus wins this one.
But, in real life, it becomes tougher to live than it is to say. As human beings, God gave us, even if a small dose, a gene that makes us want to compete. Whether that competition be in lifting weights, bowling averages, or average Facebook posts per day, each of us have an internal desire to be good at something…and I’ll even say, better than someone else at something. That feeling isn’t from God.
God actually gave us that drive inside of us to compete in order to survive. The world is tough out there, and in fact, a thousand years ago, it was far more difficult to survive than it is today. We have become fierce competitors as human beings, compared to previous generations. Our average ability to live longer, in many ways driven from improvements in medicine, lifestyles, etc…all stems from our desire to survive. In fact, to prove that point even further, by 2050 the number of people living to be 100 + years of age is expected to grow by over 1,000% from where it was in 2010. That is a lot of people over the age of 100, right? So, as humans…we like to win.
In sports, it is no different. Regardless of what NFL team you may root for, you likely want that team to win each Sunday. Unless, like me, you are a Browns fan, and then you just hope your team gets to play mine. But I digress…
It’s normal to want to win. Winning gives us an enormous feeling of pride, it makes us feel more important than we really are, although its tough to remember that in prideful moments.
Another example of when we can feel pride comes from conflicts that arise in personal relationships. I’ll be honest, I have felt extreme giddiness at the thought that someone was wrong. Now, you may not say it…but at some point in your life you have had that person who did that thing and you were glad to see the situation reversed, even if for a bit, before your Christlike way came upon you once again.
So, what’s God’s take on this phenomenon that often leads to sing-song’ing? (Sing-song’ing, though maybe not an actual word, sounds like this in real life : Nah nee nah nee boo boo.)
Lets look at Psalm 10:4 for the answer in God’s Word. But, don’t expect Him to be real understanding of our competitive nature…
Psalm 10: 4 “In his pride the wicked man does not seek Him; in all his thoughts there is no room for God.”
And while that is pretty painful in itself, let’s carry it out a bit, gain some extra credit this week, and read further to gain some additional context.
Psalm 10:5-6 “5 His ways are always prosperous; your laws are rejected by him; he sneers at all his enemies. 6 He says to himself, “Nothing will ever shake me.” He swears, “No one will ever do me harm.”
Seems a lot different, right? We’re not saying no one will never do us harm, we’re just humming a nah nee nah nee tune, but…what if that continues? What if our hearts become so confident that it’s US winning and not HIM allowing us to win. Then, if it continues, we get skewed in our thought process, and later…we will be shaken in a way we’d wish we never were.
So what do we do? How do we stop being that annoying winner that you were born to be? You don’t stop winning. God gave you the talent to win, and to glorify Him, and His ability to give you such a blessing, make sure to put Him first in giving praise. Praise the maker, not the faker. We accomplish what we do, because God allows us to do so.
I love seeing a star athlete, in any sport, thank Jesus, first. Then his teammates. Then his opposing team, or maybe his coaches. Then his wife, or parents, or whoever else gave them the support needed to do what they needed to do.
It’s as if they’ve completely forgotten who got them in that place to begin with, right? They didn’t mention themselves once!!!!
Nope, they didn’t forget, they remembered…that it’s not our talent driven by our own desires, it is a gift…from God.
So, then, what about that annoying habit of snickering when I know I posted more Facebook smileys than my other friend did for the day? I shouldn’t think about how great I am at clicking on emoticons, I should thank God for giving me a computer, and electricity, and then maybe…that trigger quick pointer finger. But…seriously…make that one last.
It all comes down to one thing, really. If we want to do our best, everyday, at showing that Jesus is the center of our universe, our selfish thoughts and actions, have to slowly be replaced by selfless thoughts and actions. Christ’s love is never shown by letting someone know you are better than them.
Have a great weekend, and God Bless.