Is competition ungodly?

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:

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As alluded to, it seems to me that competition is in the domain of prudence. Prudence is, in part, understanding of how to be effective in the good works prepared for us in a sinful and decaying world. Competition is a method to overcome some of the effects of the fall (weakness, tiredness, confusion, slothfulness, etc.) in order to become fit to do good works, or to actually do them, in some cases. There will be no need of this kind of competition in Heaven, but in the meantime, it helps us develop our ability to fulfill our vocations and to protect each other. Competition can be done without hate or envy, and benefits from a meta-skill of teaching and designing competition so to reduce the temptation toward those sins.


The point I would make for this episode is what Ben sort of mentioned at the very, very end. If Ravi Zacharias (with apologies) would have been in the conversation, he would have used what he called the Road-Runner Tactic, saying something like: “So what you are trying to do is win an argument that trying to win is wrong?” I think the drive to win - on some level - is inherent in the way God made the world.

Romans 2 says:
God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life. (emphasis pasted from NASB on Bible Hub).

He doesn’t say it is wrong to seek glory, honor and immortality and to be rewarded with eternal life. (You guys referred to this same thing in Jesus’s words from Matthew I think.) No one wants to be a failure. Thats normal and right. It takes God’s word, discernment, and the Holy Ghost in our lives to know what failure and victory are. But there is nothing wrong with victory and striving for it. Its arguable that its impossible NOT to seek victory.

Competition in sports is a different matter and not something I have thought much about really. Your words were helpful. You strive for victory but victory is not just points on the score-board. Its how you play, how you win or lose, how you grow in the process of bettering yourself at the sport.

Anyway, thanks guys.

Also, that music under your conversation at the end was really effective. It made everything you said feel more epic and poignant. Pretty crazy how that works.


I don’t remember (perhaps I just forgot it?) any mention of the Apostle Paul appealing to running the race to win it as a good metaphor for living faithfully. It wouldn’t be possible for him to use it that way if trying to win competitions in this life is problematic.