Natural to our sinful condition is the idea (even if subconscious) that we are better than other people. You might sometimes meet someone with a low sense of self-worth, or inferior complex. But even they have the same struggle, and their disappointment with themselves is that they are not receiving what they believe subconsciously to be theirs. Deep down they think they are better than other people too.
People naturally look out for themselves; that is the nature of sin and the world we live in. When young children are born into a loving home, they don’t have to be taught to fight and argue, but they do have to be taught to share.
It’s the same in churches too. People fight (not that they would admit it) for recognition by the pastor and by other people. I remember at the age of 10 being very proud of myself for being the best (so I thought) OHP operator in the church. (Younger readers may not even know what an OHP is.) Associate pastors often want to be the senior associate. Deacons want promotion to higher positions. Everyone is looking for recognition. When someone else is promoted, recognized, or publicly honoured, we wish it was us. Sometimes we even wish for the failure of others so that we will get an advantage.
And this happens between church congregations and denominations too, and in doing so, they fail to recognise the Body of Christ.
We refer to this phenomenon in churches and in people as the “spirit of competition,” The whole idea of striving to be better than someone else, and the emotions and feelings associated with that, is a nasty thing that must be removed.
It can only be removed by grace, and through a move of God.
On the Day of Pentecost this is exactly what happened to the early believers. Previously we know they had struggled with this same issue, but after the giving of the Holy Spirit there was a dramatic change in their midst. The spirit of competition was removed from their hearts, and it was a sovereign move of God. It was something they needed (and we all need) and something we can believe for and seek God for.
Imagine the possibilities in your church, when the people start putting each other first from the heart.