I love watching the Olympics. The people who go there have not only dedicated countless hours to their sport, they have honed their skill to be one of the best at it in the world. Their excellence is a byproduct of their rigorous schedule and dedication to what they do. To be that excellent at something, you have to have natural abilities, but you also have to do things consistently to keep improving day after day. To them, it’s not enough to just be good at it, excellence is what drives them. It got me to thinking not just the aspects of being excellent at a skill, but also about becoming excellent in spirit. Can I become more excellent in my walk with Christ? What does that look like? What do I need to be doing on a consistent basis to become more excellent spiritually?
In my quest, I found Daniel in the Old Testament. His nation had been defeated by another country and he had been taken as a hostage from his homeland. Instead of complaining about all the unwanted changes in his life, he continued to remain faithful to God in prayer. He also did whatever the king of the new country asked of him as long as it didn’t interfere with his faith. This attitude caused him to be noticed. Daniel 6:3 says, “Then Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom” (ESV). Daniel was excellent in his abilities, but he also excelled in his attitude. He didn’t let his circumstances affect the performance of his responsibilities. He excelled internally and externally. That’s something that appeals to me because I’m pretty good at letting my circumstances affect the level of excellence I provide at times.
In Mark 12:30, Jesus affirmed the greatest commandment to us when He said, “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” This commandment calls us to be excellent in our love for God in all phases of our being. We can be excellent in our spirit through loving God with our very being, through our spirit, through our thoughts and through our actions. Being excellent in spirit is finding ways to serve God and love Him even through the most difficult circumstances and letting it show in our outward actions and attitudes. Because Daniel served God this way, he was set apart. Even when those who were jealous of him tried to get him killed, he still served God faithfully. As a result, many others put their trust in God. Think of the kind of impact you an I can make when we fully dedicate ourselves to loving and serving God with excellence despite the things we’re going through.