Power is tempting but, always, fleeting.

While some people bet all their chips at the roulette wheel, others cling desperately to power in order to keep all that they have achieved. In a frantic dance of ambition, flirting with greed, they are always one step away from disaster. For so many, life is about power and prestige only—but life must be about more than dragging others down on your way to the top.

Ever since Adam and Eve’s son Cain killed his brother Abel, selfish rivalry has always invited catastrophe. For many, a competitive personality only masks insecurity. No matter how hard they strive, they never find fulfilment.

The podium at an Olympic Games medal ceremony often provides a strange image. The winners of first and third places may look much happier than those who came in second. Why might the first runner-up feel more frustrated than the last one on the podium? Because the silver medal is won by defeat, but the bronze medal is won by victory. While one thinks, Why am I not there in first place? the other one celebrates, Hooray! How nice that I achieved myself a spot in here? Everything depends on perspective.

Approaching the end of his life, the apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:7-8, NIV). In the race of life, victory is not about doing better than someone else, but about continuing to develop your own skills, surpassing your previous “best time.”

There’s, really, only one answer to rivalry, to jealousy of others. Because you will always, no matter how much you have, know those who have more, you must learn to be thankful, very thankful, for what you have now, because there will always be those who have less. Praise the Lord, thank the Lord, every day, for the blessings that you have. This spiritual habit, if done with faith and thanksgiving, will free you from the ugly grip of rivalry.