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The Sin of Emulation and Competition

What comes to your mind when you think about sin? Is it the usual blatant sin of homosexuality, lust, murder, or lying? The interactions we have with our neighbors often reveal how sinful our hearts really are. There are many sins that we commit that seem super easy to point out, but what about the ones that are lodged deep in the soul of a person and cause us to harbor hatred towards others and ourselves? I think many women are in the guise of self-hatred today. I'm sure there are many things that go unnoticed about us like having a competitive attitude, jealousy, and coveting.

What is Emulation?

We probably never think about competition and covetousness as being hatred, we are too focused on creating self-care and self-love regimens. But lodged deep in the heart of any person can reside self-loathing and hateful patterns, many I believe most women suffer from. Galatians 5:19 - 20 is a well-known passage for listing the sins that prevent us from inheriting the Kingdom of God; drunkenness, sexual immorality, divisions, factions, sorcery, hostility, strife, sensuality, idolatry, rage, disputes, revelries, jealousy, and envy... Let's camp out here at jealousy and envy. The King James Version of this verse mentions jealousy and envy as emulations.

Emulation is when we try to imitate someone to be like them, an ambition to be similar or exceed their achievements, stemming from a lust to be like them, or a lust to be better, which comes from jealousy. It's an ambitious or envious rivalry.

Examples of Emulation

Unfortunately, we might be used to seeing the female race compete and rival each other whether that be in looks, achievements, or relationships. Reality television creates this narrative between women, they especially love to pitch friends against each other and sell it to us as entertainment. I believe emulation is subconsciously dominant in many women. We are all born into sin, so at a young age, we covet what another kid has. We perceive that someone is prettier than us and we hate her. It's the human nature of pride that causes us to feel attacked when we lose our sense of control.

When we are no longer "that girl", we must kill the one who is so that we can have our throne back. Every human being is sitting on a throne we've erected and it is pride.

Everyone longs to be "it"; that thing or person that others covet or envy. It builds our fantasy kingdom and alters our reality that others are beneath us and we are everything they wish they could be. We see girls and women today trying so hard to be something they aren't. Many of us follow celebrities so closely that we imagine ourselves in their shoes and try to imitate their looks and character. I saw a comment on social media about a young lady who said she followed Beyonce so closely that she became obsessed and wanted to be her. Imagine how many young women today are abandoning who God created them to be to become someone they obsessively admire!

But maybe this isn't your fight, maybe you have a cousin or sister whom you're jealous of. Maybe she was always praised for doing everything right and perfectly, at least in your eyes, and your life hasn't been so great. So you live in secret competition with her. God is not pleased! In fact, one of the 10 Commandments states in Exodus 20:17, "do not covet your neighbor's house", or anything that belongs to her. In other words, do not desire what someone else has. Everybody has a different lot in life and it will never look identical to the next person. Each person is responsible for what they do with their time on earth and we only waste more of our time with comparisons.

How to Overcome Emulations

God is not pleased because this is vanity. This behavior only distracts us from becoming holy like Christ and it is unloving! Paul instructs us to "be imitators of Christ" in Ephesians 5:1-2. There is no one we should desire to be more like other than Jesus Christ, He is the One who makes us right with God and gives us peace on earth. Becoming like other people or better only makes us feel good about ourselves for a short while. The Bible tells us to "think of others as better than ourselves" rather than trying to become better than them.

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves." - Philippians 2:3

Everyone is fighting for a throne in this life and it's easy to lose sight of Who is already on the throne and that's Jesus, sitting on the right hand of God. Why is it always about Him? Because He's perfect and already paid a price for our icky sins that we couldn't pay. No one else on earth has done what He did, so it becomes idolatrous for us to desire other people who are just as faulty as we are.

I think it's important to understand where emulations may have developed in your life. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Why do I feel the need to compete with other people?

  • Did something happen in my past that made me feel inferior and broken?

  • What don't I like about myself that causes me to deeply admire others?

  • What do I hate about my situation that causes me to be jealous or want what someone else has?

Then I want you to ask yourself:

  • What are 10 things I like about myself?

  • What am I thankful for?

  • What is God calling me to do with my life?

  • What can I ask God for instead of taking it from someone else?

  • What would I accomplish if I had what they had? How would that make me feel?

Have You Tried Asking God Instead of Hating Others?

The Bible says in James 4:2-3 that we have not because we don't ask, and when we do ask, it's for our own selfishness. God won't give us things because our hearts are not in the right place. Some of us are asking for things because it will inflate our pride, make us feel like we're better than that person, or give us a reason to boast to our "haters". These are not what the blessings of God are for! Our focus should be on God's Kingdom, which means we are doing what He desires for us to do and behaving how His children should. What sums up the entirety of the law? Loving God with all of us and loving our neighbors as ourselves. Matthew 22:36-40.

When we are focused on loving God with every fiber of our being, we live for Him alone and we ask according to His will. And in the same way, when we are learning to love our neighbors as ourselves, we treat them right and see them from the proper perspective. Rather than competing and being jealous, we can celebrate our uniqueness and respect them as being created in the likeness of God.

And lastly, contentment is a virtue! God is pleased when we are content with what He's given us and content with who we are becoming.

"When we desire to emulate the wicked or harbor jealousy, we cannot live in love & humility as God commands."

Do you want help getting freedom from jealousy and competition? Sign up for a free coaching session to get biblical advice and prayer!

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