“How many are willing to be faithful, even in the small things that no one sees? How many will keep a good attitude in the face of difficult circumstances? How many will remain true to their convictions, even when it hurts? Who will develop an excellent spirit?” (Wommack, 10) Most people think of excellence as an achievement at the very highest level. However, the Biblical worldview of excellence shows that not only does God desire us to be excellent in all we do, but Godly excellence encompasses more than just achievement. Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines excellence as “a valuable quality; anything highly laudable…purity of heart, uprightness of mind”. A person can achieve excellence in all areas of life, including sports, academics, and even everyday tasks. A person can also display excellence through spirit and attitude which is shown through difficult circumstances and in the small moments that no one sees. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men” (English Standard Version). Excellence embodies actions, thoughts, and spirit because a person of excellence honors and glorifies God in all they do, knows God is their source, and has a fruitful spirit.
A person of excellence honors and glorifies God in all they do. We need to strive to achieve excellence in all areas of life, not just one, for example, sports, homework, everyday tasks, and anything else that fills our time. While we are constantly striving to be excellent in all areas, if we start falling short in one, we need to ask God for opportunities to improve that area. Tony Dungy, an ex-NFL coach, explains that the more you practice, the better you become. He said, “If you practice once a week, you’re never going to be as good as if you practice everyday” (Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 21). We cannot become excellent in something if we only train a little. Diligence and persistence are necessary for excellence. In addition, a person of excellence also leaves a strong imprint of Jesus on everyone around him. In Excellence Playbook it says, “Whether it is a positive or a negative impression is up to us. When we are committed to excellence, we naturally desire to leave the kind of mark on others that will have an eternal impact” (FCA, 15). We must continually ask ourselves if we are leaving an imprint of Jesus or of ourselves, whether it be on the field, at school, or at home. Lastly, excellence is a pursuit that never stops. “Whether it be today, tomorrow, in a year, or in a decade, it is a continuous effort to do our very best in everything” (Sweeting, 47). Second Corinthians 8:7 says, “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” (ESV). Honoring and glorifying God in all areas of life and working at it constantly are characteristics of a person of excellence.
A person of excellence knows God is their source of motivation (Wommack, 23). Our motivation needs to be to glorify God, not ourselves. In First Corinthians 9:27, Paul says “Run in such a way to get the prize” (New International Version). He means we should compete with excellence and try to win; however, winning here on earth should not be the ultimate goal. The prize is not going to be here on earth, it’s going to be long term, in Heaven. We also cannot use success for personal gain. Humility through success and achievement is an important aspect of excellence. Without humility, pride becomes one of the dangers of achieving excellence. God is the one who gives us our talents, abilities, creativity, and strength. We should not be satisfied with mediocrity. God wants us to give him our first and our best. Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all you produce” (ESV). Firstfruits can be thought of as not only our money but our best efforts as well. A person of excellence knows to put both situations, win or lose, in God’s hands (FCA, 23). Whether we get what we are seeking — the promotion, the best grade, etc. — or not, we need to trust in God’s larger plan for our lives. Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future” (NIV). Having excellent thoughts and knowing that God is our source are characteristics of an excellent person.
Lastly, a person of excellence has a fruitful spirit. A fruitful spirit must be developed. Daniel 6:3 says that Daniel rose above all the high ranked officials because he had an excellent spirit. Because of that, the king planned to set him above the whole kingdom. Daniel was not born with an excellent spirit, it had to be developed. To develop an excellent spirit, we need to have Godly characteristics inside of us (Tim Burt). We also need to have an “attitude of prayer”, which will contribute to that excellent spirit. A person of excellence has the ability to do their best even if there are consequences. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to the king even though it meant death. The Bible mentions faithfulness as a fruit of the spirit. They showed great faithfulness towards God by refusing to compromise their convictions. Having the fruits of the spirit inside of us is having an excellent spirit. Phillipians 1:9-11 says “And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so 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” (ESV). A growing love helps us approve what is excellent (BibleRef). If we love what we do, we will become excellent in that. Having a fruitful spirit is a characteristic of excellence.
Excellence includes your body, mind, and spirit. The key characteristics of excellence include honoring God, your identity in Christ and having God as your source, and having a fruitful and excellent spirit. Ecclesiastes 9:10 says, “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might” (ESV). We need to complete every task, homework assignment, job, and practice with excellence and to the best of our abilities. I encourage all of you to be a person of excellence with excellence thoughts, excellent actions, and an excellent spirit.