noun ex·cel·lence \ˈek-s(ə-)lən(t)s\
Definition: Extremely high quality
This morning I watched a video blog by Bill Johnson. He started off by making a very controversial statement. He said “God does not use idiots”. He continued by recounting the story of Gideon’s 300 men and how they were chosen to fight because they drank water by bringing it up to their mouths, rather than bending down with their faces to the water. His conclusion was this: God chose them because they were alert, as military men should be. They didn’t take their eyes of the battlefield and they remained vigilant. He concluded by saying that the story isn’t so much about the Lord telling us that He can win a battle with a hand full of men, that’s quite obvious, but rather that “the Lord values excellence, He values proper training and He values devotion and commitment”. He stated that God loves to take the best of the best, the ones who has a core value of excellence entrenched in their souls and use them to win great victories… God does not use idiots.
This made me think long and hard. During my time as a student at a School of Ministry, “Excellence by choice” was drummed into us and has become a core value for me. I have noticed that often times it is not recognized or valued by the body of Christ; rather people who practice excellence are often ridiculed, accused, judged or gossiped about and the ones who don’t feel totally justified in doing something half-halfheartedly. It seems that very few Christians see the need, or strive for excellence.
As the children of God, made in His image, we are called to excellence. We are called to excellence in our thinking, in our interaction with others, in our day-to-day work and in our service of God and man…we are called to be and act “of extremely high quality”.
Consider Philippians 4:8 For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them]. (AMP)
Why are we called to meditate on things that are extremely high quality? Because as a man thinks, so he is. (Prov. 23:7a) We read about Daniel:
“Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
In the context of giving, Paul says this to the Corinthian church: “But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also.” (2 Cor. 8:7 ESV).
What about the work we do? It doesn’t seem very spiritual, yet we are called to excellence there too. Just doing enough to get by, does not cut it. Remember Colossians 3:23, 24? Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.…And Ephesians 6:7? Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people.
In fact, I cannot think of any situation where the Word of God inspires us to mediocrity. Even in our dealings with the enemy, we are admonished to run from evil, not just saunter in the opposite direction.
I have always loved 1 Peter 2:9. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. This, right here, is the heart of the matter…that we represent the One who called us, and saved us and lives inside of us, well. When we, made in His image, His representatives on earth, conduct ourselves in an excellent manner, we proclaim His excellence and He is worthy to be honored in this way.
Let us decide in our hearts that we will choose excellence – in what we mediate about, how we work, serve, love and how we keep our word. Let our “Yes” be “yes” and our “no” be “no”, may we not only love much, but love well…and may the God of all grace empower us, equip us, inspire us and help us, for “I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] (Philippians 4:13 AMP). We can do all things, even be excellent.