I wouldn’t say I’m a reality TV junkie, but there are several shows that I enjoy. I’m especially fond of those that feature competition of some sort (“The Amazing Race,” “The Apprentice,” and “The Biggest Loser” are my current favorites).

I’ve noticed that in pretty much any reality-TV competition that involves someone being eliminated by voting, 9 times out of 10 the contestants will vote out the person who is the biggest threat. Eliminating the closest competition seems to be the name of the game. Who cares if you end up competing against a 98 year old grandmother or a 98 pound weakling in the finals, the important thing is to WIN.

Personally, I don’t like to watch when there is one dominant person or team that is certain to win the grand prize. I enjoy competition. I don’t like watching a blow-out in sports (unless it’s my beloved Crimson Tide doing the pummeling). I like having the top two teams in the nation play each other for a national championship. I like seeing two undefeated competitors go head to head. It’s the way things should be.

Oh, but in my life, now that’s a different story. I don’t want competition. I want to keep things as easy as possible. I realize that there are battles to be fought, but I want to choose my opponents. I want to eliminate people who pose the most threat to me, or who annoy me, or who challenge more than my fragile ego can stand. I don’t want to have to deal with people who don’t fit into my way of thinking or act the way I think they should.

However, God sometimes allow what I view as troublesome people into my life to make me stronger, to make me strive harder. As James 1:2-4 says:

“Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

Seeing troubles (and troublesome people) as opportunities for growth rather than as roadblocks on the path to righteousness will give me far greater joy. And that will make the victory much sweeter.

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