What does the Bible say about Excellence?

As I finished up my time as a university instructor, I thought a lot about the thousands of students who had crossed my path and the many, many hours I had spent reading and responding to their writing. I had not always done that reading and responding with the right attitude, for sure, and I had certainly not always strove for excellence in that work. I had absolutely sought to be the best that I could be, but on some days, I know that I was just the good enough that I could muster that day.

Oh how things might have been so different if I had done it all for God.

God asks us to seek excellence because, after we accept Jesus as our Savior, through the Holy Spirit God works to transform us into the likeness of His Son. And Jesus is excellence. We are called to grow and excel in Christ’s characteristics, to love one another like Christ. And we are to pursue this without fail, each day seeking God and asking for the Spirit to show us where we must do more.

Paul tells the Corinthians, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” Oh, how we should listen to Paul. I’ve done my fair share of griping at house work and other tasks that take up time I could be spending doing something else. And even though the clothes comes out clean and the beds are made, I am not doing excellent work because I am not doing my work and “whatever [I] do…for the glory of God.”

We aren’t to be lukewarm in our pursuit to be like Christ. That is the condemnation that Christ has for the church at Laodicea in Revelation 3. They are “neither cold nor hot” and Christ says that they will be spit out of his mouth. It should never be that we have done “good enough.” This is Christlikeness that we are talking about. I don’t want to be just “good enough” in that.

God wants for us no less than true excellence in our inward character and our outward actions. He isn’t after perfection from us. None of us are capable of that, but we are to seek after Christ as if it were.

Paul wraps this up in Philippians 1:9-10 when he prays “that [our] love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that [we] may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” That our love might be EXCELLENT. That is what Paul is saying. That we might have a Christ kind of love.

So what does the Bible say about excellence? Excellence is the whole point of our lives. We are to be continually seeking excellence by pursuing Christlikeness each day. No other earthly pursuit of any other kind of excellence will bring the level of excellence that a pursuit of Christ will.

I really pray that you are pursuing excellence with me.

2 Peter 1:3-11 NLT — “3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 5 In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love for everyone. 8 The more you grow like this, the more productive and useful you will be in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But those who fail to develop in this way are shortsighted or blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their old sins. 10 So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away. 11 Then God will give you a grand entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

In Christ,


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