Have you ever noticed how most people would like to experience the thrill of excellence without paying the personal price? Yes, if the price is money that we possess, than there is no problem. However, if the price is personal sacrifice, than we put reins on ourselves. It amaze us how some people dedicate their life for a political cause, or even a personal hobby with such intensity that nothing but the best outcome matters. Yet, when it comes to following Christ, they are satisfied with unfruitful results.
Paul described this way of life as a spiritual, Olympic race that we should all run seeking the prize. Again, he describes this life as warfare that we should pursue with only victory in mind. We don’t know about you, but this kid knows that when it comes to running with the intention of winning takes sacrifice, time, and intense focus. It doesn’t just happen by itself. It takes regular practice. It takes training in every area of the total person. It takes disciplining the mind, the body, proper eating, rest, and the list goes on. It just doesn’t happen.
One has to wonder if most people are satisfied with mediocrity in their spiritual walk because they don’t know what spiritual excellence looks like. Or maybe they believe one could never be like the saints we read about or hear about? Or maybe, they believe it takes some personal, innate abilities rather than the power of God to change them. Whatever the reason, now is the time to change and accept nothing else but the best. If we are a disciple of His, don’t we want to be the best in Christ eyes?
How many of His children have been lied to over the ages and have grown up believing lies to be true? In our society, we are bombarded with so many lies that we develop a defensive wall to protect us from the poison darts that are thrown our way. As children, we accept everything as the truth. But as we grow up, we discover that our parents have lied to us. Our teachers have lied to us, our coaches have lied to us, our political leaders have lied to us, our bosses have lied to us, advertisers have lied to us, and the list is as long as you want to make it. The point is even our church leaders have lied to us.
We have been deceived to accept mediocrity as the high standard of faith. Because the majority of church members are spiritual powerless, biblically ignorant, and culturally influenced, we accept that as the standard of faith. We believe that the people of the Bible are the example of the few and most of us will never attain such a spiritual relationship with our Heavenly Dad, so we don’t even try. We are a people who have lost, or maybe never even caught, the vision of the Kingdom.
Have you ever noticed a struggling student discover a worthwhile goal in life to pursue? All of a sudden he is more able to see how the pursuit of excellence in his studies will help him accomplish his plans. The level of motivation jumps to the top of the chart. Nothing seems to matter anymore but the attainment of his goal. Everything he does is a part of that passion. He becomes enthusiastic. He becomes purposeful. He becomes contagious. He is not satisfied with just getting by any longer. Now he wants to know everything there is to know. He wants to be in the center of it all. And in the process, he soon begins to excel in everything he pursues. Life has meaning and purpose.
Likewise, when a disciple discovers the Triune God’s plan and how he is a part of that plan, his motivation grows. With the best Teacher and the best Coach in the entire universe working with him to prepare for the accomplishment of that plan, life takes on a new purpose and meaning. The everyday frustrations that trap most people are nothing more but building blocks towards the attainment of the goal in our life. We no longer accept other people’s standards of spiritual success. Our standard is Jesus Christ. Our goal is the Kingdom of God. Our passion is to be the best for the glory of God. We want all people to succeed. We want all people to have a deep, personal relationship with our Creator Dad. We will only settle for second best if our Heavenly Dad desires it. Otherwise, we are running the race for the prize. We are fighting the war to win. We will give it our all because Jesus gave it His all.
Our Great, Awesome, Wonderful Dad, Help us to capture your vision and plan for mankind. Motivate us to pursue with a passion the goals you believe are ours to attain. Let nothing prevent us from living this life in full glory of you. Let us be and do our best for you. Thank you Jesus. Amen.