Today’s Question:

“Are Rivalries a Sin?”

The Question Came from: Arnold.

Neighbor, I thank you for your Question.

Yes, it is a Sin.

Based on everything that I have seen, heard, and read in Scripture, I do believe that rivalry is a Sin. In fact, rivalry is such a sin that it has the great potential of keeping one out of the Kingdom of Heaven for all eternity. As always, do not just take a teacher’s word for it, but review what the Scripture physically says for yourself. Personal opinion is not what ultimately matters. The key question is what does the Word say?

Paul wrote that indulging in rivalries would keep someone from inheriting the Kingdom of God. Keep in mind that this was written more than 20 years after Jesus died and rose again.

As It Is Written: “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19–21 ESV)

This is a list of Paul, the apostle of Grace, specifically said would not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Do not forget that Paul was a member of the School of Gamaliel. That means that Paul would have had the entire Torah memorized by age 6. That means that all understood the Scriptures better than any of us do today. let us review what Paul said does not inherit the Kingdom of God.

  • Sexual immorality– Any sexual relationship outside of Biblical marriage.
  • Impurity– Basically, sold out to living a completely self-indulgent lifestyle.
  • Sensuality– Almost completely controlled by one’s desires and passions.
  • Idolatry– worshipping and following false gods; Worshipping anything other than YHWH Almighty God.
  • Sorcery– Practicing Witchcraft and magic arts; Rebellion and defiance against God; using drugs or poisons to control and manipulate people.
  • Enmity-hatred; Causing or promoting hatred.
  • Strife– Fighting or stirring up fights between people.
  • Jealousy– Craving, wanting and pursuing, someone else’s blessings, position or possessions.
  • Fits of Anger– basically throwing a tantrum when one does not get their way. A loss of self-control, driven by indignation and rage.
  • Rivalries- Overinflated loyalties to a group or faction. Caring so much about winning that you are willing to cheat or to commit other sins in order to win. A synonym for that would be selfish ambition.
  • Dissensions– In effect meaning to separate oneself from God or from godly people.
  • Divisions– To force one’s point of view in opposition to Scripture. Being so married to one’s opinion that one cannot change their mind even when Scripture speaks opposite of their point of view.
  • Envy– “A resentful, dissatisfied longing for another’s possessions, position, fortune, achievements, or success.” The Bible says envy is an act of the flesh, the result of human sin. Basically, it is the seed of greed.
  • Drunkenness– Anything where one is dominated by intoxicating substances to the point of abandoning self-control.
  • Orgies– Getting so lost and overtaken in parties and celebrations that you refuse self-control, in favor of enjoyment and self-indulgence. Mardi Gras and Carnival Would be good examples of this.
  • And things LIKE these… just in case you’re indulging in sinful passions that do not make this list exactly but are close. It is still not safe for you.
  • “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

Can it be any clearer? Paul, the apostle of Grace himself specifically said that indulging in rivalries will keep you out of the Kingdom of God.

Indulging in rivalries can be extremely dangerous. Rivalries can start out looking like innocent fun, but they can quickly turn, into selfish ambition. Once you reach the point of selfish ambition, it becomes a gateway to every other evil thing. Rivalry is a gateway to the enemy.

As It Is Written: “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (James 3:16 ESV)

Think about it this way. Healthy competition can be good. It can push us to reach for ever greater excellence (as in Hebrews 10:24). However, once it reaches the point of becoming a rivalry, the goal is no longer pushing oneself for excellence. it is now about winning so that you can feel that you better than the other guy.

If you think about it carefully, that is not Kingdom thinking.

As It Is Written: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3–4 NKJV)

Now, truthfully, tell me. How can you esteem the other person as being more important than yourself if you are engaged in a rivalry, where you just have to win and grind the other person into the dust, in order that you can feel good about being better than they are? How can you do that? In order to indulge in a rivalry, you would have to actively DISOBEY Philippians 2:3-4. That is what makes rivalry a sin.

As It Is Written: “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. (Matthew 7:12 NKJV)

If you think about it carefully, you cannot indulge in a rivalry, and be obeying Matthew 7:12 at the same time. When you lose, and people exalt themselves over you, do you enjoy it? Well, if that is not how you like to be treated, then we’re not supposed to treat other people that way. It’s virtually impossible to love your neighbor as yourself and be trying to defeat them all the time. Rivalry forces you to violate the Greatest Commandment. It is therefore a sin.

Thank you so much for your question.