You have no real competitors.  No, I have not lost my mind. I know this statement runs counterintuitively to everything you and I have been taught to believe, but stay with me. My goal is to help us as God’s ambassadors in the marketplace to transform our mindset, reorient, reconceptualize and recontextualize the workplace and marketplace and take them to a higher level of excellence. In order to do this, we have to change some of our conventional perspectives, and one of them has to do with the concept of competition.

Competition is generally defined as a state of trying to somehow win or gain something that is either possessed or wanted by others. It’s the idea that we are striving to outdo another for some particular prize or profit. We’ll start the process of tearing down some of our traditional mental models of competition by first considering what the Bible says about the concept of competition. 

Beware of Comparisons

In the Western world, we have been indoctrinated with the idea that we are always competing against someone or some entity for happiness, fame and fortune. In business, we compete for rewards and prizes that consist of everything from job promotions and executive compensation packages to record-breaking earnings, industry accolades and market share. This preoccupation with competing against other individuals and entities results from our tendency to constantly compare ourselves with others.  For us as women, this socialization around making comparisons between females is extraordinarily magnified.

The Bible cautions us against comparing ourselves with others to the point of provoking one another and becoming conceited and envious of others, because envy is like cancer in our bones (Proverbs 14:30; Galatians 5:26).  It’s important to note that these biblical admonishments against comparisons are applicable to not only comparisons made between individuals but also to comparisons made between enterprises. It doesn’t matter whether we are comparing ourselves with our colleagues or comparing our company with another company. The core issue is that constant comparisons tend to be problematic from a spiritual perspective because they take our focus off God. 

The Bible also warns us against coveting, or longing for, what others possess (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 5:21; Ecclesiastes 4:4). In these ways, we should never be jealous of the talents, gifts, abilities, possessions, and success of others. Being overly concerned with other people’s success is counterproductive. What God has for you is truly for you. No one can stop the plans of God (Isaiah 14:27; James 4:2).

When Jesus Is Your Standard, You Have No Real Competitors?

God grants wisdom to the righteous and protects those who walk in integrity (Proverbs 2:7). As His ambassadors on the earth, we are to examine and evaluate our own individual conduct and work standards (Galatians 6:4), not based on comparisons against others but based on God’s principles and how He made us. 

Jesus teaches us to be free of men and liberated to be who God made us to be as individuals (1 Peter 2:15-16; John 8:26-29).  When our focus is on God and Jesus, there’s no need to compete by comparing ourselves, our lives and our businesses with others. When your role model, or your ultimate standard, is Jesus, then you have no real competitors. As God’s children, we have no real competitors in the workplace and marketplace.  No one can compete with us and the divine wisdom, guidance, favor and protection that we have through Him. By adopting this perspective, focusing on God, and following His sovereign plans, we free ourselves from unnecessary stress and strife and ultimately position ourselves to perform at unprecedented levels of kingdom excellence. 

Isn’t Competition Sometimes a Positive Force?

While intellectually we may understand and appreciate biblical warnings against the concept of competition, we may still be grappling with deep-rooted attitudes and ideologies about competition. While some of us perceive competition as a negative or necessary nuisance that we have to deal with in society, many of us may see it as a positive force inspiring us to perform better. Some of us may be thinking: Isn’t competition a good thing, especially when it causes us to strive for excellence? 

My dear sister, it is certainly acceptable to appreciate the fruitful, kingdom-building works of others. I am not suggesting that we shouldn’t allow the success and blessings of others to inspire and motivate us to achieve our personal best and professional excellence. I believe in striving for self-improvement.  I am simply advocating that the primary way to excel is not by comparing ourselves and competing against others but by following God’s principles for how we should lead our lives and govern our businesses. 

As Christians, our interest must be centered on a lifestyle and a business protocol that glorifies God. We are called to a Higher level of authority and standard of excellence because we serve an excellent God and have a perfect role model in Jesus (Psalm 8:1; Romans 2:18; Philippians 1:10-11). This is why we are encouraged to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).