"Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
-Psalm 139:23-24 (NIV)
Have you ever been accused of being too competitive? That's probably a stupid question if you're reading this devotion. The likely answer is yes. Me, too. In fact, that happened to me recently when I revealed a lofty goal I had regarding marathon competition and my next attempt at a PR. Shortly after I mentioned the plan, I heard several Christian friends saying that I was just out for my own glory and not that of God. They didn't ask me about the venture, but whatever I had said had led them to draw the conclusion that I was out for personal gain.
What a convicting wake-up call! While I believed in my own heart that I truly wanted to do this for the Lord for a variety of reasons, I obviously hadn't been acting or speaking that way if people were assuming selfishness and pride.
As Christian competitors, one of the last things we want is for people to look at us as the source of great accomplishments and for them to miss seeing Christ through us. For me, the fact that people were discerning selfishness in my words and actions made me re-examine my heart and ask the Lord both to reveal hidden sin and to show me how I could better communicate these goals so that onlookers would see Him instead.
Has that ever happened to you? If so, I challenge you to ask yourself several questions:
1. Do I truly desire to achieve these goals for God's glory, or do I want the glory for myself?
2. If I am pure of heart, what am I doing or saying that is leading people to believe I am out for selfish gain?
3. How can I better communicate Christ as my ultimate goal?
After I asked myself these questions, I realized that while I truly did have God-given desires to further His Kingdom through racing, there was still pride in my heart that needed purging if all the glory was going to go to the Lord. It has since became my ultimate prayer that He would rid me of that pride and give me a totally clean heart to compete for Him.
Today, if you are being accused of selfish motives when it comes to athletic achievement, don't dismiss the accusations. Take the opportunity to ask God to reveal any hidden sin in your heart. He'll show you what needs to change, and you will be able to compete with a peaceful mind, knowing that you are being used of God to display His power and glory.
1. Take some time to answer the questions in the devotion.