A Journey into True Excellence

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archery-target.s600x6001I am one of those “Type A,” over-achiever people.  I like to do what I’m good at and be good at what I do.  On top of that, I tend to be pretty good at anything I undertake.  You’d think it would be a good thing, but it really makes it difficult sometimes – difficult to operate in God’s strength, that is.  That is one of my greatest weaknesses, and I have had to fall hard more than once to realize it.  When you are really good at something, or most things, you tend to rely on yourself a lot.  In most situations, what you can do on your own is more than sufficient, especially when you try extra hard to make it so.  Yet “sufficient” and “nearly perfect” don’t count with God.

“…[F]or all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23)

Think of a target.  Let’s say that it only counts if you hit the bull’s-eye.  Thus, when you shoot, it doesn’t matter whether you come an eighth of an inch from the center or you miss the target completely; you still didn’t make the mark – you still weren’t good enough.  That is how it is with God.  No matter how hard we try we will never be enough like Him.  Therein lies the problem: our trying.  I’ve listened to Jason Upton’s Just Like You many times, but I never truly noticed what it was saying before now.

“You stand beside me just waiting while I try to go it alone
Smiling You say son come here won’t you let me just help you
But frustrated I try to make it cause I’ve just got something to prove
Not knowing it is my weakness that perfects your power”

 I was so humbled.  I had tried so hard when I was never supposed to be trying at all, when I should have been operating in His strength.  My quest for perfection took a wrong turn when it failed to be a quest for God’s perfection.  You see, excellence is a bad thing to strive for in your own strength.  In God’s strength, however, it can be a beautiful thing to seek after, so long as you are seeking it because you have a desire to glorify the Father, and Him alone.  I used to strive for excellence because I felt a need to not merely do my best but to be the best.  Now I strive for excellence because I want to be all that God has called me to be, because I want to honor Him.  When I excel now, I do it in His strength.

“I desire
To be like You
Like any son or daughter
I want to be like my Father
I desire to be like You
You promised to never forsake me
So I’ll risk it all if you’ll make me like you”

I don’t know about you, but this daughter is ready to take that risk.  Each day I purposefully set aside my desire for human perfection in favor of being perfectly like Him.  The Lord says, “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy” (Leviticus 19:2).  By definition, holy means “perfect in goodness and righteousness.” Perfection is excellence, and our loving heavenly Father has called us to excellence in Him.  Because He is perfect, I strive to be perfect in Him; and I can only do that with His help.

arrow in target

My prayer: “Jesus, I am sorry for striving in my own strength; I repent of it right now.  Help me to make peace with my own inadequacies, knowing that you are my more-than-enough and that I am perfectly safe in the shadow of your wings.  You and you alone are my strength.  Thank you for making a way with your blood for me to live a life of excellence in you, my King of Glory.”

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