Psalm 103:13-14 As a father shows compassion to his children, so the LORD shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.
Do not expect too much from me, I am only made of dust. God understands this about me, so as long as everyone else gets this, my bar is set pretty low and I can pretty much put forth 100% of the bare minimum and everything is good... right? Well, maybe not. You see, I am also indwelt by the Spirit of God and there is that verse that says something about my weakness is His strength or something like that.
The truth is, there are numerous passages in scripture that speak about pursuing excellence. The Apostle Paul charges us with this little nugget: 1Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. Or how about this one: Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you." I could probably list 100 others just like this.
It seems we have a dichotomous situation, on the one hand, we are called to be courageous and fight the good fight, on the other hand we are told God is compassionate with our failure because He knows our frame. How does this work?
As believers in Christ, we are called to pursue excellence.
Here is where the opening passage comes into play: 2 Corinthians 12:9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
God gives us life and He gives us purpose. Whatever purpose God sets before us must be pursued wholeheartedly. If you hate your situation and give minimal effort, God has no reason to bless you with a better situation - Luke 16:10 "One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.
In Genesis we see the story of Joseph. Sold by his brothers, enslaved, and jailed on false accusations. If anyone had an excuse for exerting minimal effort in life, it was Joseph. Instead, Joseph pursued excellence and rose to the top of every situation he found himself, going from prisoner to second in command of the most powerful country on earth, at the time! Joseph's commitment to excellence affects your life today, believe it or not. Because Joseph pursued excellence in his life, the family from whom the Messiah would one day come was saved from starvation.
Joseph did not wallow in self pity or focus on what he could not do, he utilized the strength found in his faith and accomplished the impossible. As believers, we have something Joseph did not have, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. We are empowered by the very Spirit of God and yet, sometimes we are satisfied with mediocrity.
If only I had more money, I could... your Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills.
If only I had more influence, I could... if you have the faith of a mustard seed, you could move mountains.
If only I were smarter, I could... Jesus said, "what you are to say will be given you."
The key to unlocking all this is Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
If we are truly pursing God's Kingdom, we will naturally pursue excellence. This covers every aspect of life, not just ministry. Family, work, school, personal relationships, you name it. 1Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. This is the truth and the truth don't lie!
Stop accepting mediocrity, pursue excellence, and find your strength in Christ.
Now go live as Christ... and give the devil hell!