Imagine one of your friends says, “Hey! I just heard about this really good book. We should both read it!” After reading that book for a few days, will there be a part of you that wants to know what page your friend is on? Will there be a part of you that wants to stay a few pages—if not a whole chapter ahead of your friend?
You don’t have to consider yourself an athlete to be competitive. In fact, there’s a competitor inside all of us—a part of us that always wants to be first—always wants to be the best at something—ANYTHING!
That competitive streak often benefits us in this life, but it’s harmful when it comes to our relationship with God. It’s harmful because you can’t understand why Jesus’ perfect life matters until you first come to grips with the fact that—like me—you’re not perfect. We’re not good enough to get into heaven on our own. We’re not strong enough to fight off the devil’s temptations on our own.
But Jesus was and Jesus is. Jesus did lead a perfect life and he did it because we can’t. Jesus did fight off the devil’s temptations on his own and he did it because we can’t. The last thing Jesus deserved was death. If anyone deserved to live, it was him. And yet, he died anyway. Jesus offered his perfect life as a sacrifice for your sins and mine. That means he paid for all the times we arrogantly slip into thinking our sins aren’t as “bad” as those of someone else. That means he paid for all the times we’ve convinced ourselves we can battle the devil’s temptations on our own.
And that’s only half of the good news! Not only did Jesus wipe away our failures when he died a death he didn’t deserve, he now credits his perfect record over to us! That means God looks at you and sees nothing but Jesus’ victories over sin and the devil.
The next time those competitive juices start flowing and you begin to compare yourself to another human being or attempt to fight off the devil’s temptations on your own, remember this. The competition is over. Jesus already won. There’s nothing left for us to win! And that’s a good thing.
Lord’s blessings on the rest of your week!