Fresh Hope – 21st March 2018

We’ve heard it said that in order to display the nature of God, we should make it our pursuit to do all things with excellence. It is important that we actually understand what excellence is, otherwise we fall into the trap of hustling for perfection. Perfectionism is the counterfeit of excellence. Aiming for perfection takes you only to exhaustion. Perfectionism constantly reminds you of where you are not measuring up, and where you are not doing enough. It sets impossible goals. Perfection is never satisfied. It is critical of other people. It values what you do, and what you have, rather than who you are. It is fueled by guilt and can never rest. Perfectionism is rooted in a religious spirit as you believe that in order to be accepted, you must be perfect.

Excellence however, is about GROWTH.
Excellence is ‘the state of excelling’. Scripture tells us to stop striving for perfection and rest in the only perfect one, Jesus (Matthew 11:28) and instead encourages growth in God – key words being IN GOD. Hebrews 12:2 tells us to ‘fix our eyes on Jesus who is the author and PERFECTOR of our faith”. This is liberating news as this means that excellence is both progressive and limitless because it is rooted in the limitless nature of God.

Excellence is about having A PASSIONATE HEART
While perfection is about the outward appearance, excellence is about the heart. It is God motivating your heart and setting the standard, not others or even yourself telling you what to do.

Colossians 3:23 says, ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your HEART, as working for the Lord, not for human masters’.
While perfectionism is a product of not feeling good enough, excellence is an expression of your passion for God. It is impossible to be excellent at anything without passion. Try being excellent at your job without having the passion for it. Trying being an excellent spouse or parent without passion for your loved ones. Try serving God with excellence without a passionate heart for Him – you can’t. Excellence is a fruit of passion.

Excellence is EXTRAVAGANT.
A beautiful example of excellence birthed from passion is when Mary poured the perfume on Jesus’ feet in Matthew 26:8. To onlookers, excellence can seem wasteful and overly generous. When Mary poured the perfume that was worth a year’s wages onto Jesus’ feet the disciples said this act was too extravagant, and the perfume could have been sold and the money used more wisely. But Jesus instead commended Mary for her excellent act of worship. Likewise, King David was deemed excellent by God went he took off his kingly garments and danced wildly before God (2 Samuel 6:14-23). His wife despised him for it, and she bore no children, but David was fruitful in whatever he put his hands to.

Rather than striving for perfect, fix your eyes on Jesus and let him give you a heart for excellence instead.

Philippians 4:8, ‘Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is EXCELLENT or praiseworthy – think about such things’.

Emma Burchell

A daily devotion for a better way of living.