The Pursuit of Excellence
Excellence is a virtue that must be pursued by all God’s children irrespective of their vocation or sphere of influence. It is not Biblical defined as the world does, neither is it a spirit in the sense in which the phrase is sometimes used, but it is a mind that is keen: enthusiastic, intense, eager and sharp; a mind that is distinguished for wisdom and knowledge. Excellence is not another word for intelligence, success or perfection. Excellence does not mean the absence of mistakes but it means the presence of faith and determination. When Daniel was met with resistance, his determination and faith caused him to not only overcome but excel far above his detractors. Friend, excellence in God is being determined in doing the very best one can with what one has been given. In short, the pursuit of excellence is bearing the likeness of God. Everything He made and did had a purpose and was declared good, including the creation of man. The Bible made us understand that God created man in His own image and likeness. The image was accomplished but before the likeness could be, the interruption came in Genesis 3. Hence, man since then has been on the journey of pursuing excellence. Only with excellence can we truly be like God: “…We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself just as He is pure” (1John 3:2b&3).
There is a constant refrain in the Bible of ordinary men and women who did extraordinary things and distinguished themselves amongst the lot purely by obeying the principles of God. These individuals were not exceptionally intelligent or of sterling backgrounds but were able to transcend every cultural, physical, and human limitation or barriers because they believed the God that had called them and purposed in their hearts no matter what, to walk in His principles: “Daniel (unlike the other young and physically fit noble men) determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank” (Daniel 1: 8, emphasis mine). Daniel has, like the others, the Spirit of God within him, but he took a step further to hold fast to God’s principles. It is not enough to carry the Spirit of God; we must be determined to achieve God’s purpose in our lives by the way we live, think and act. Excellent people exceed expectations; they go the extra mile and do more than is asked of them (check out the Berean Christians). Friend, if people were to describe your service to God, would excellence come to mind?
It is important that we understand that without the virtue of excellence, life would lose its luster, our fellowship with God and man would lack vigor and life, church services and fellowship with our fellow brethren would merely be predictable routines with no corresponding growth in our spiritual man. Our Lord Jesus Christ expects us to do the best we can with what we have at every moment. This we can do by making it our ambition to live out our gifts and talents to the fullest, any other way is mediocrity and is unacceptable! He expects our lives to stand out in all matters irrespective of our position in life. Mediocrity is not of God, it works against the principles of God. When we become negligent in our duties, mediocrity is not far! An excellent mind is teachable, humble and submissive to the Holy Spirit: “The anointing you received from Him remains in you, and you don’t need anyone to teach you. Instead, His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie; just as it has taught you, remain in Him” (1John 2:27). With determination and faith, the Holy Spirit Himself will teach you ways that will confound your most ardent detractors. Therefore: “This book of instruction must not depart from your mouth; you are to recite it day and night, so that you may carefully observe everything written in it. For then you will prosper and succeed in whatever you do” (Joshua 1:8). Excellence starts in the mind, renew your mind today and receive the grace to walk exceptionally before God like Daniel and the heroes of faith. God bless you.