Archive for January 7, 2012

v4.48 The Spirit of Competition, The Spirit of Murder

That same spirit that caused Cain to murder his own brother is very much alive and well in the world today. Not only is it thriving and surviving, it is flourishing and promoted and taught enthusiastically in the world. It is that same spirit that Niccolo Machiavelli exposed so poignantly in his classic the “The Prince” back in the 1500’s. The Prince’s life motto was, “It is far better to be feared than loved…” It is the concept that power and control and domination will get you everything you want.

Also from that same book is an essay on how “the ends justify the means”. It is a win at all cost, every time, take no prisoners philosophy. It is the quintessential playbook for competing according to Satan’s rules and pattern. “Submit or die!” “I must win, you must lose.” Sadly, no tragically, it is the favorite tune of our capitalistic, materialistic, self-indulgent, self-centered godless world. It is the mantra of business, politics, sports, and every other blatantly and even covertly competitive endeavor.

This philosophy (the deification of Self) is the heartbeat of every problem we have in the world today. And I don’t mean YOUR problems I mean everybody’s. We even look at problems self-centeredly with this Machiavellian attitude, that the only real problems in the world are my problems. How do I get what I want? How can I be happy? How can I be the center of praise and worship and desire? It’s there alright, in you and me (apart from a living relationship with Christ). It may be buried deeply or covered with a glossy coat of religious piety, but its there. It buries itself in the sin nature and the carnal heart. That heart of Self that seeks its own.

Satan is a murderer from the beginning. Believe you me, he would have taken God out if he could have. He hated God with an eternal hatred. He not only wanted God’s power, worship and throne, he wanted to be God (not like Him). This is the spirit of competition, the spirit that I must be worshiped, I must lead, I must get the prize, I must be in charge, in control, in absolute power. Anyone who threatens this goal or makes me look bad must die or be removed from the landscape.

Why do you think that they (read we) crucified Christ? It is because He stood there in absolute perfection condemning us, not with His heart, not with his words, but by His Life of Righteousness. His blazing white makes our bleached white look dull and unimpressive. The focus of attention went to Him. We paled in His Light, we even look desperately dark.

This is what we see repeatedly throughout the Bible. This spirit of competition and murder. It is captured for us in the account of Cain and Abel.

“And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:  But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.” Gen. 4:3-5.

There it is. right there, that seed of murder. Cain wanted the favor, the glory, the focus of God’s attention and affection. He set his death sights right on Abel his brother because his brother did right and was respected by God. What is God’s solution?

“And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” vv. 6,7.

So, is that what was in Cain’s heart, equality? To be like Able, to obey God and be accountable for himself. No! He had another plan, take out the other guy. He is not your brother, he is your adversary. Competition is a form or murder. It is taking from your brother so that he loses and you gain. It is evil and wicked when it is born from a comparison that Self makes with another. It is one thing to do your best and be satisfied with that (i.e. competition with your own ability), as Able did. It is quite another to seethe with envy and covetousness at what your brother owns. When the focus of your performance is the comparison to others it is murder. So what did Cain do? Did he work on becoming righteous? No, he just removed the bright light that exposed his own darkness.

“And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” v. 7.

Can you see it? Cain got his brother to walk with him, requesting a talk with him (probably under the guise of brotherly relationship). He brought him to a field where no one could witness. He thought that if no one could see him that he was innocent. Apparently God saw. Here is His commentary on the subject:

“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.  Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” 1 John 3:12,13.

That spirit of competition, that spirit of murder is from the father of lies. It’s how you can tell “who’s your daddy?” That spirit wants, no needs, no must have the preeminence on the playing ground. It is a spirit that says all eyes on me. I must have it all. There is no room for the glory of another. I will not work on my own relationship with God. I will eliminate the competition. Murder.

This is how the Pharisees and other religious leaders justified their crucifixion of our Lord and Redeemer. This spirit is seen repeatedly throughout the bible. Just as the Holy Spirit has fruits that are manifested so does the unholy spirit. Among them are: Pride, envy, unrighteous (i.e. selfish) anger, lies, covetousness, narcissism, competitiveness, greed, stealing, deception, etc. You can tell a tree (the reproductive son from the seed of the father) by its fruit (visible behaviors).

Here is just a few of the biblical characters that come to mind when I consider these fruits. Notice some of them repented and found favor in God’s eyes. Most were judged severely.

Korah (Moses)
Aaron and Miriam (Moses)
Joseph’s brothers (Joseph)
Saul (David)
Jezebel (Elisha)
Haman (Mordecai)
Daniels accusers (Daniel)
Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego’s accusers
Religious leaders (Paul)
Stephen’s murderers (Stephen)

There are more examples of attacks on righteousness out of competition and envy and greed.

The clearest and most widely obvious example today is religion. It is a system where people justify themselves outwardly by what they appear to be, their presentation, yet there is no interest in hearing from God through Apostles and Prophets, there is no true seeking. “He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.” Mark 7:6.

But God says to the traditional church (that is false) as He said to Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door.” The church can be saved but not without repentance from dead works. Until then religion continues to murder the sent ones, through silencing, rejecting or discounting their testimony.

The voice of God is alive and well today, but largely goes unheard. It is being murdered by lesser lights that compete with it. God includes everybody in His offer but at the same time He makes it conditional, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself…” He says, “Seek me while I can be found.” “If you seek Me with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength and with all your soul, then (and only then) will I be found by you.” Sounds like an all-or-nothing proposition to me. He is not interested in our religious gymnastics and seeing what we can do in our strength. He wants you to see what He has done and for you to sit down and shut up – no competition.

Quote Title Quotation Source
The Final Destination – Unique Universal Love My true personality will be fulfilled in the Mystical Christ in this one way above all, that through me, Christ and His Spirit will be able to love you and all men and God the Father in a way that would be possible in no one else. Thomas Merton – New Seeds of Contemplation, ©1961 by the Abbey of Gethsemani, Inc.
God – Perfection of Simplicity God exists in Himself and of Himself. His being He owes to no one. His substance is indivisible. He has no parts but is single in His unitary being. The doctrine of the divine unity means not only that there is but one God; it means also that God is simple, uncomplex, one with Himself. The harmony of His being is the result not of a perfect balance of parts but of the absence of parts. Between His attributes no contradiction can exist. He need not suspend one to exercise another, for in Him all His attributes are one. All of God does all that God does; He does not divide Himself to perform a work, but works in the total unity of His being. A. W. Tozer – The Knowledge of the Holy, © 1961 Aiden Wilson Tozer
Obedience Instigates His Will I will stick to it that God is a God of love and justice, and I look forward to the time when I shall see it manifestly. We have no business to say piously, Oh, I leave it with God. God will have us discern what He is doing, but it takes time because we are so slow to obey, and only as we obey do we perceive morally and spiritually. Oswald Chambers – The Complete Works of Oswald Chambers
Eternal Accounting It will be noticed that the real difficulty, in each case, lies in the greatness of God. It seemed incredible to little Emmie, to our Master of Arts, and to Miss Corelli that a God who is “the Generator of the universes and the Creator of everything” can be concerned with the cares of the individual. Now the trouble is, not that they have made God to seem too great, but that they have not made Him great enough. They have belittled Him! Now, how great is God? That is the real question! Is He great to the point of absolute infinity? Is He, or is He not? Now, if God is great to the point of infinity, it follows, beyond all controversy, that there is no stick or stone in all His universes of which He is not perpetually cognizant and conscious. Or — to put it the other way — if there is a feather or a straw blowing about the solar system which has, for a fraction of a second, eluded His knowledge or escaped His observation, then, by just so much, His greatness falls short of infinity. If, therefore, I do really believe that God is not only great enough to be “the Generator of universes and Creator of everything,” but great enough to be infinite, then I cannot help believing that no sparrow falls to the ground without His notice and that the very hairs of my head are all numbered. F. W. Boreham – The Luggage of Life, 1912, published by Kregel Publications
You Say You Want a Revolution? To the Orthodox there must always be a case for revolution; for in the hearts of men God has been put under the feet of Satan. In the upper world hell once rebelled against heaven. But in this world heaven is rebelling against hell. For the Orthodox there can always be a revolution; for a revolution is a restoration. G. K. Chesterton – Orthodoxy, copyright 1908 by Dodd, Mead and Company
The Tell-tale Heart It is a great and abiding and assurance-filled truth that nothing, no nothing, can separate us from the love of God — nothing except our own self. It is true that God loves all his creation and wants to redeem it — for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus our Lord that none would perish but all would come to repentance and find eternal life in Christ, in the atonement by which He purposed to purchase our souls back from death. But notice repentance is the key ingredient. Repentance from what? From our God-forsaking selves that cause us to turn our backs and trample under foot the blood of Christ. God gives us each a choice, a free will to decide. If we say we love Him but do not keep His commands how can the love of God be in us? The only children of God are obedient Sons. The disobedient clearly express their will and choice to live apart from God. They are bastards, sons without a heavenly Father. Two hearts, two homes. Tom Van Hoogen
You Have Seen the Father If we have been accustomed, therefore, to approach God with any mistrust of the kindness of His feelings toward us; if our religious life has been poisoned by fear; if unworthy thoughts of His character and will have filled our hearts with suspicions of His goodness; if we have pictured Him as an unjust despot or a self-seeking tyrant; if, in short, we have imagined Him in any way other than that which has been revealed to us in “the face of Jesus Christ,” we must go back in all simplicity of heart to the records of that lovely life, lived in human guise among men, and must bring our conceptions of God into perfect accord with the character and ways of Him who declares that He came to manifest the name of God to men. Hannah Whitall Smith – The God of All Comfort, circa 1890 – 1956 Edition Moody Publishers
Perspectives on Prayer Prayer is a haven to the shipwrecked man, an anchor to them that are sinking in the waves, a staff to the limbs that totter, a mine of jewels to the poor, a healer of diseases, and a guardian of health. Prayer at once secures the continuance of our blessings, and dissipates the clouds of our calamities. O blessed prayer! thou art the unwearied conqueror of human woes, the firm foundation of human happiness, the source of ever enduring joy, the mother of philosophy. The man who can pray truly, though languishing in most extreme indigence, is richer than all beside, whilst the wretch who never bowed the knee, though proudly sitting as monarch of all nations, is of all men most destitute. — Chrysostom Charles H. Spurgeon – The Treasury of David abridged by David Otis Fuller, circa 1880, © 1968 by David Otis Fuller, Published by Kregel Publications
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