A Spiritual Competition

In reading Leviticus, I’ve discovered some of it is about what’s not said. For example, see previous entry about sacrifice. Since then, I’ve been noticing other things that are never said, or in this case, what God will never say.

I’m reading a bible study on the book of Romans, and one chapter talks about comparing ourselves to others, whether it’s in our professional, personal and/or professional lives. It’s understandable, since so much of what we do and and are is based on competition: competition for food, land, and other resources. It’s how we survive and thrive as a species.

One way to win any competition is to study our competitors and see if we are better or worse than them. Perhaps plan accordingly so we can win against them. Too often, though, when a competitor (real or imagined) exceeds our abilities, we become disillusioned instead of motivated to improve. Again, understandable, but not wise.

All of that, especially disillusion, should never affect our spiritual life. To God, the grace, mercy, blessings, and yes, even conviction, he extends to us are not dependent on anyone else. That’s the definition of relationship. For instance, I treat my husband different from my son different from my friends. To tell my son he needs to be exactly like my co-worker would be silly and more than a little weird.

Since God seeks to build a relationship with each one of us, he never has and never will say, “you lose, because so-and-so prays, and/or works better than you.” Because God’s resources–gifts if you will–are abundant. They’ll never run out, so we need to quit acting and believing as though they will.

4 thoughts on “A Spiritual Competition

  1. Though I agree with your artical, I wonder how we as Christians need to act in response to Chapter 18, Verse 29, of the Book of Levitius, which states, “Everyone who does any of these detestable things (this verse includes a long list of sexual acts that are considered sin, such as having sex with an animal, any person of the same sex, any person related to you by family, or the neighbor’s spouse) — such persons must be cut off from their people”, in light of the dictates of the New Testament that we love and not judge anyone. Are we to do nothing and let God handle the matter, even if the intentional sinful act involves emotionally or physically hurting others or to protect the sinner from her or his own sinful ways? Or are we called upon to act to protect those who are being harmed by the sinner’s acts or those who may be harmed in the future by the continued sinful behavior of the sinner and/or to assist the sinner in correcting his or her sinful ways, as long as we do not condemn any one and rely on our love for everyone, in doing so. Is it a sin “to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it”? See Luke 6:9. And does it matter for a Christian, if the sinner is a church leader or elder, a self proclaimed Christian, or an atheist or antagonist? See Jude 1:22-23; Titus; “Lesson 58: The Responsibilities of Church Leaders (Hebrews 13:7, 17-19, 22-25)”, https://bible.org/
    seriespage/lesson-58-responsibilities-church-leaders-hebrews-137-17-19-22-25.

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    1. That’s quite a figurative mouthful, there Arnie! To address one comment (I may have to get back to you on the others), I think some misinterpret the part about “don’t judge.” Unless you know of scripture that contradicts my next statement in that although we are indeed supposed to love the sinner (not the sin!), we are not to prevent anyone (Christian or otherwise) from accepting the consequences of their actions—especially if they harm others. Forgive, yes, but not release them from worldly punishments (Romans 13 comes into play here, because obeying the law also means accepting whatever punishment government requires if/when we break the law). I’m too lazy to check (unless it’s in the link you added?), but the New Testament also outlined rules for when fellow believers break God’s laws—which can include banishment from the church if severe enough, and the accused is unrepentant. It’s a fine line between grace and works (doing what is right) without going too far in all grace, no repentance necessary verses legalism where grace must be earned through works.

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      1. I agree on your view on the mis-interpretation of the New Testament verses about “don’t judge” and place most of the blame for that mis-interpretation on our modern day churches that over-emphasize the verses on God’s grace without tempering God’s grace by limiting, if not eliminating, sermons on the Bible verses that caution us about the affect sin can have on our receiving God’s grace. I do not fully understand how church leaders, who have taken an oath to preach all of the Bible to its members, can take such a course of action, other than to believe that the devil in his deceptive and deceitful ways has convinced church leaders filling the church with people and preaching about God’s grace is the most important things they need to do to save the most people. My experiences have indicated to me that that system just results in many, if not most, proclaimed Christians believing it is okay to continually commit intentional sin, so they just continue to sin, with the belief God’s grace will save them in the end. It is also my experience that people listening to any kind of speech hear what they want to hear if the message trying to be conveyed is not made with a high degree of clarity, and that even when a message is conveyed with a high degree of clarity, there are also some people who will interpret the message to be that which they were hoping to hear, in light of their preexisting bias. In my opinion, churches need to do a much better job of preaching about all the verses of the Bible, particularly about the adverse affect sin can have on a person’s ability to be saved by God’s grace and the obligations of a Christian to report and/or take action to hold proclaimed Christians responsible for their sins, including a Biblically correct interpretation of the “don’t judge” verses of the New Testament, to eliminate the confusion that now exists with those verses.

        So that I can become better read on this issue would you be so kind as to provide me with the cite to the book, chapter, and verse of each Book of the New Testament that set out/outline the “rules for when fellow believers break God’s laws—which can include banishment from the church if severe enough, and the accused is unrepentant.”

        Thank you for your time and devotion to God’s word!

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      2. Matthew 18:15-17: “If another believerd sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses. If the person still refuses to listen, take your case to the church. Then if he or she won’t accept the church’s decision, treat that person as a pagan or a corrupt tax collector.” (NLT)

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