Ye old "one-upmanship" can hit at any moment. Have you noticed that? Competitiveness can tempt us into pride and envy at any moment and I can succumb quickly.
Any of us can brag about how much more our children accomplish than others. When we hear someone share how she led her relative to Christ, we can interject about how we witnessed to some famous person. If someone in ministry attends a conference with other leaders, she may be tempted to tell about the great success of her Christmas event after another woman talks about the success of her retreat. In large and small ways, it's easy to slip into competing with each other in order to come out on top, or to appear more successful, effective, loving...whatever...than someone else.
One woman who shared with me about her struggle with competitiveness said that watching her cousin speak before a group made her question the ways God had been using her in a local woman's shelter. Her influence seemed small in comparison to her cousin's impact on large groups. This woman's feelings are evidence of a typical way our enemy schemes to make us compare ourselves to others.
But when we realize we're a part of the body of Christ, we don't have to succumb to such a low sense of God's value in us. In Christ's kingdom, we're all on the same level, working toward the same objective: the glorification of Jesus.
Joseph Stowell wrote about the perspective we citizens of heaven should have: "When I accepted the invitation to serve Christ at the Moody Bible Institute, a friend said to me, 'You really took a step up!' He obviously had not yet been gripped with a sense of kingdom identity. There are no 'steps up' in the kingdom. There are only servants who are sovereignly assigned to strategic places in the vineyard. This sense of identity unifies us as one in Him."
I need to remember that. How about you?
(graphic by jesadaphorn found at www.freeidigitalphotos.net)