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Part 8 – The Habit of Excellence

 

 

o   What is excellence?

§  Excellence is doing things well.

·        One person said, it is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well.

 

§  Excellence is best described as doing the right things right—selecting the most important things to be done and then accomplishing them 100 per cent correctly. 

§  It is the opposite of doing things mediocre.

§  But, long before Joyce Meyer ever said ‘excellence is a habit”

 

·        Aristotle said it, who lived 300 years before Jesus walked the earth, and was a teacher of Alexander the Great said…

o   “Excellence is an art won by training and habit… We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle[1]

o   But in one sense (and we absolutely do mean any disrespect), it is nice that Joyce Meyer or Aristole have an something to say about excellence.

o   But what is better is knowing what God has to say about excellence.

 

o   The word ‘excellent’ or its other word forms occurs 66 times in 63 different verses in the Bible.

 

·        God’s Power Is Excellent.

 

 Exodus 15:7 (KJV 1900)

7 And in the greatness of thine excellency thou hast overthrown them that rose up against thee: Thou sentest forth thy wrath, which consumed them as stubble.

 

·        God used His power in an excellent fashion overthrowing the Egyptians in the Red Sea.

o   If you don’t think so, ask Charlton Heston, he was there!

o   I mean, when you think of the Red Sea don’t you marvel at that?

§  Don’t you think, God did that well?

·        Here is another verse that speaks of the excellency of God’s power.

 

Job 37:23 (KJV 1900)

23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, And in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.

 

o   His power is excellent, when He uses it, He uses it well.

o   His judgment and consequent justice are of the same caliber

o   Everything God does, He does well.

o   He does it the best, the absolute best that a thing can be done.

o   Mark this down and please don’t forget this. “Everything that God said in the Bible, the way God said it, no one can improve on.

o   You cannot say a thing better than the way God says a thing.”

o   So, when God by the Holy Ghost says in 1Peter 2:24…

 

1Peter 2:24 (KJV 1900)

24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

 

o   Know that that concept is the best way that that could be said.

o   God’s power displayed through His Word is excellent and cannot be improved on.

 

·        God’s Name is Excellent

o   It has to be – since His Name is a dispenser of power.

 

Psalm 8:1 (KJV)

1 O Lord our Lord, How excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

 

o   God gave us a Name that is above every name and that name is of excellent quality. In fact, it is the best Name, the Highest Name…

o   It is the best Name that there is.

 

Hebrews 1:4 (KJV)

4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

 

o   The Word of God says concerning a name…

 

Proverbs 22:1 (ESV)

1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

 

o   Your name can be good…

§  If you make good choices…

If you have integrity and honesty…

§  If you are a person of your word and you keep your tongue straight…

o   Your name can be good, but the Name of Jesus is not just good, it is excellent.

 

·        God’s Lovingkindness is Excellent

 

Psalm 36:7 (KJV 1900)

7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

 

·        Lovingkindness is the Hebrew word ‘hesed’

o   It means ‘stedfast love’ or covenant love.

§  The driving of compassion to give; to enter a blood covenant for the other persons benefit.

o   It is translated over 240 times in the Bible as…

§  Loving-kindness

§  Steadfast love

§  Grace

§  Mercy

§  Goodness

§  Faithfulness

§  Devotion

§  Favor

§  Strength

o   The Bible says that all ‘hesed’ traits are of excellent quality in God

 

The Opposite of Excellence is Mediocrity

After you finish going through these verses, show what the opposite of excellence is – that is mediocrity

 

o   An English definition of the word ‘mediocrity’ would help us here.

o   DEFINITION: mediocrity – Ordinariness as a consequence of being average and not outstanding.

§  The word mediocre comes from two Latin words and literally means “halfway to the peak.” [2] 

·        Being mediocre means doing things half-way.

§  Here is a verse of scripture that is full of imagery along this line.

·        Picture it – see it with your eye

·        The scene occurs as God visits the children of Israel in the wilderness after He brings them out of Egypt…

 

Exodus 19:20 (KJV 1900)

20 And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.

 

o   Where was God at?

§  Answer: at the peak

o   Where are most believers at?

§  Answer: at the half-peak – half time.

·        Their prayer lives are mediocre

·        Their Bible study efforts – they do not give their best – consequently their spiritual life never makes it to the top.

o   Excellence means going to the top

o   The average only go “halfway to the peak”

o   Being excellent means being way above average.

o   Anyone can be average – anyone can be mediocre

 

§  Joyce Meyer said…”It is easy to be a mediocre person. All you have to do is make no extra effort of any kind and drift through life making no difference in the world, which will guarantee that you leave no legacy behind when you are gone.”

§  The people that make the difference are the -people that go to the top where God is.

§  I would imagine that mountain climbing would be easier when you first start and much more difficult, much more work, much more demanding the closer you get to the top.

 

§  Rick Renner said…

·        “It is just a fact that it takes hard work to do anything that is going to be successful. Those who try to avoid going the extra mile in doing their work with excellence will never reach the pinnacle of success. Do you want to be super-successful in life? Then you must go above and beyond what every- one else is doing. If you continually put in only the minimum amount of work and effort that is necessary, you’ll produce nothing more than the minimum with your life. In order to achieve something spectacular, you have to do something spectacular and unique to make it happen.”

§  If you want to be a person of excellence, you are going to have to be a hard worker.

·        Lazy people get very little from God.

 

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (ESV)

10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

 

§  There is no other way to reach your full potential than to work hard.

§  Joyce Meyer said…

·        “God has an excellent plan in mind for our lives but a mediocre, lazy, compromising person will not live in the fulfillment of an excellent destiny.”

 

Traits of Excellence

·        Excellent people are passionate people

o   What is passion?

§  Passion is a burning commitment. 

§  The verb in Greek means to devour, eat up or consume. 

§  The word contains high intensity and emotion. 

§  Passion causes your blood to boil and sets your being on fire. 

§  Passionate people eat, sleep, and drink their dreams and aspirations. 

§  Galatians 4:18 tells us that zeal is a good God thing. 

 

 

Galatians 4:18 (KJV)

18 But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you.

 

§  Passionate people are the achievers of this world.  The lazy and uninspired know little of their successes.

 

·        Excellent people are hardworking people

o   Lazy people get very little from God, as was already stated.

o   ILLUSTRATION:

§  Henry Kissinger in his book “The White House Years” tells of a Harvard professor who had given an assignment and now was collecting the papers. He handed them back the next day with a note written at the bottom “Is this the best that you can do?”. The student thought no and redid the paper. It was handed in and received the same comment. This went on ten times, until finally the student said, “Yes, this is the best that I can do.” The professor replied, “Fine, now I will read it”.

§  Excellent people are chosen people – teaching on chosen, teaching on Daniel 6:3

§  Excellent people are disciplines and tenacious people – All excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose.”

§  Excellent people are hardworking people.

 

·        Excellent People are Chosen People

 

2 John 1 (KJV)

1 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth;

 

o   Definition: elect Eklekte – elect, chosen perhaps choice, select with the idea of being the best of its kind or class,

o   It means excellence or preeminent:

o   You can easily translate this… ‘The elder unto the chosen excellent lady and her children.’

§  Excuse my English but I got me one of those – excellent lady!

o   The prophet Daniel was this class of person.

 

Daniel 6:3 (KJV)

3 Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

 

o   The same spirit that was in Daniel is in you.

o   You cannot get away from it.

§  Excellence is a part of your of our nature and a part of your calling.

§  God chose you before the foundation of the world.

 

Ephesians 1:3–4 (KJV)

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

 

o   You are a chosen child just like the elect lady.

o   An excellent child because that is the spirit that is at work in you.

o   Everything that you do – do with your might – do with excellence

§  If you cook – do it excellently

§  If you clean – do it excellently

§  If you handle money , if you mow the lawn, if you work at a job – they should know you’re a Christian and not mind it because you are such an excellent worker, a hard worker

§  There is something in me that runs very deep in this area – when  I see something done well – I get emotional – it is one thing I absolutely enjoyed about Rhema – everything they did was done well

§  The lights at Christmas are done well, the grounds are immaculate… everything they do is done with a spirit of excellence

§  When you do something, do it all the way…

§  Jesus deserves the very best from your life.

·        When you pray, pray your best

·        When you study, study you best

·        When you give, give your best

·        Whatever your hands find do, do your best.

o   I want to close with this verse.

 

2 Peter 1:3 (ESV)

3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

 

·        You have been called to excellence quit being mediocre. Quit going half-way to the peak, go all the way to the top.

 


[1] Water, M. (2000). The new encyclopedia of Christian quotations (p. 323). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[2] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (1998). The Tozer Topical Reader (Vol. 2, p. 30). Camp Hill, PA: WingSpread.

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