Like the Greeks Paul was writing to, our culture loves competition. There is, indeed, something Biblical about competing. However, there is more to the passage. And more to competition than we often acknowledge.
As faith superheroes, the Lord is the source of our power and the One who determines the cause for which we contend. The spiritual race is not a competition of one person against another. It is about the cause of advancing justice. The Greek word translated “justice” is usually translated in the Bible “righteousness.” The Bible describes “righteousness” as being like a well-functioning body, where every body part plays its role to maximum design.
So what does it look like for a faith superhero to “win” while having an argument with your spouse? Is winning getting the other spouse to concede a point? That’s worldly competition. Winning the spiritual competition is taking one step further toward the marital goal of oneness. Winning in marriage is each party playing their role to best serve the whole.
It is good to compete. Right to compete. But we need to be very careful how we view competition and how we define opponents. If we choose a worldly perspective, we will get a fleshly result of biting and devouring. If we fight, contend, and contest for truth and justice, the reward is spiritual unity.
A true win consists of more than being the first to break the tape. A true win is about stewarding influence, exercising character, and pursuing vision. Faith superheroes pursue God’s truth, and Biblical justice, which is harmony through service. This is a race we are called to run and to win.
“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.”
– 1 Corinthians 9:24-25