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The Competitive Christian

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

From my earliest memory, I wanted to win. If I lost a contest, I would try to put on a good face, but I'm not sure I did a good job of it because the loss was driving me nuts inside. I had an uncle who knew how competitive I was. When I was about eight years old, he would come up with different contests for him and me to participate in. It might be a contest to put a quart-sized, hard plastic freezer container over against the wall and see who could throw the most clothespins in the container from 10 feet away out of 10 tries. He was older and better at most any contest we would play, so he would win. He had no thought of letting me win. That was not an option because he was amused by me taking the losses as hard as I did. He would remind me that I had lost over and over for the rest of the day by saying, "I'm the greatest! I'm the greatest!" And, yes, it drove me nuts. I would try even harder next time.

My desire to win carried on in less healthy ways as I got older. I started playing golf when I was 13 years old. I would play with three other people, and we would always have a competition with two of us playing against the other two. If I hit a ball in the woods but didn't have a clear shot at the green, I would move the ball when others weren't looking. As long as the outcome was good, I had no problem with it!

After I first became a Christian, I moved the golf ball a few times, but when I did, I felt badly about it. It didn't take long until I wasn't moving the ball anymore. However, one thing I noticed was that I still wanted to win... badly! I started thinking about whether I should be wanting to squash the competition this much since I was a Christian. I have thought about that a lot. I know a lot of Christians play in the NFL. Many have reached the top of the sport. When playing at a person's best, I believe football must be played with an edge. Can Christians play with an edge? Absolutely! I have come to realize that being a Christian doesn't prevent one from trying to win as hard as one can. As long as you play by the rules, watch your language and act in a manner that doesn't embarrass the Lord, then I think you are EXPECTED to try as hard as you can. Read 1 Corinthians 9:24-25.

By the way, when I got to be about 15 years old, my uncle stopped coming up with contests for us to play. He could no longer beat me!

May God always be your number 1 draft pick!

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