Care for One Another
Competition by its very nature requires that one person wins and all others lose. We are NOT in a competition in which one believer is competing against other believers. We are in a competition to see the Word of God live and prevail. In the context of I Corinthians chapter 9 Paul is talking about disciplining himself as an athlete to move the gospel together with the believers. We are in this competition to live the Word together. We are never in competition with each other.
Only let your conversation [way of life] be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
In this competition to live the Word of God we strive (compete) together to believe the Word of God and see it live in our day and in our time. We are to stand fast TOGETHER! We are to be spiritually on the same page - in one spirit - TOGETHER! We are to be of one mind when it comes to believing the gospel. We are to STRIVE TOGETHER! We are never set in opposition to each other - one believer competing against another to live the Word. We are competing together as believers in a contest to see the Word of God prevail. The contest is between God and the Devil - between the Word living or not living.
Whereof I [Paul] am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;
Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you the hope of glory:
Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.
The glorious prize that we have is Christ in us. Not just in the Jews or just in the Gentiles. Not just for the best believers. Christ in YOU! In EVERY MAN! The ministry of the Apostle Paul, the competition in which he was striving to obtain mastery, was one in which the prize of "Christ in You" is delivered to every man who believes. GOD would make known - God wills that this knowledge be made known - to every man. That is the contest. It is NEVER a contest between believers. It is a contest in which believers compete together to make known the mystery. And what is the mystery that God kept secret from ages and generations? The mystery is that there is no contest between believers. Jews and Gentiles are "of the same body!" All are partakers of the glorious prize of Christ in You. The context continues . . .
For I would that ye knew what great conflict [contest] I have for you . . .
Not what great conflict I have against you! Paul wanted them to know how he was striving in the contest FOR THEM - to make known unto them the mystery and the glorious prize of Christ in You that was available.
That their hearts might be comforted [not defeated], being knit together in love [not torn apart in competition], and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;
The contest is for the mystery to live. For believers to come to a full assurance of understanding and acknowledgment of the mystery - TOGETHER! It is ONE BODY! Each believer has Christ in them! We are to be knit together in love with hearts comforted. We are to strive together as one body in the contest to move God's Word.
I Corinthians 12:12-27
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
(We are not in competition with each other. We are one body. How can one body compete against itself?)
For the body is not one member, but many.
If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?
If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.
And if they were all one member, where were the body?
But now are they many members, yet but one body.
And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.
Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:
And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness.
For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked.
That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
We are tempered together by God in the body of Christ. Every believer is an important part of the body if we are to compete in the contest to move God's Word. There is to be no division in the body. Rather we are to care for one another. We do not compete with other believers - we care for one another.
I Thessalonians 2:19
For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?
For ye are our glory and joy.
We are in a competition for the
lives of men and women. We are in a competition to see the Word of
God live. And at the end of the contest what is the prize?
Those who have believed God's Word and are with us at Christ's coming.
They are our glory. They are our crown. They are the prize.
We compete together as one body and when Christ returns we stand at the
finish line together. We do not compete against other believers we
care for one another.