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.