Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Thursday, July 11, 2019

“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves…” — Philippians 2:3

More Than Bragging Rights

Each year in college football, the rivalries between in-state universities and regional foes ignite a firestorm of passion in each team’s fan base. These annual occasions are given names like “The Iron Bowl,” “The Game,” “The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry” and even “Bedlam.” A trophy and/or championships may be at stake, but even more thrilling for each side is to win bragging rights for the next year. The coaches and players lose sleep watching film, push themselves harder, and pull out all the stops to send their rival home disappointed. 

As sports fans we love to “hate” our rival team in such an arena, but all too often we carry our strong emotions into our daily relationships with co-workers, family members and friends. We are primarily concerned with our own agenda, and thus become quite selfish in making ourselves look better at the expense of connections with others. We would rather obtain “bragging rights” than lay down our pride and help someone else look good. 

The Bible has much to say about this human tendency toward rivalry. Brother fought against brother in Genesis; King Saul and son Jonathan clashed over their feelings about David; and Jesus Himself was misunderstood by his earthly family. The apostle Paul stated in Phillipians 2:3-4 to the early church, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

Although we all fall short in this area, even as the Church, we must strive to not let selfish ambition get in the way of loving people as God desires. 

— Allen Kent, Kathleen, Ga.

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