I am excited about today’s blog post by the super awesome Phillip Gocke. (Can I call you ‘Phil’? I can? Okay.) Phil Gocke. ;) He and his wife Emily worked at my alma mater Central Bible College and they had an easy knack for investing into many, many students. And they did it so well! I have been ministered to by his practical words and godly example, and I hope you find encouragement by his post. Much love,
What’s the difference between an Apple store and most any other electronics store? You might already have some ideas, but let’s compare them.
“You should not offer any animals that are diseased, weak, or injured or have any defects. Such a sacrifice is not acceptable for you. Also when a man offers a sacrifice… he must offer a perfect, unblemished offering in order to be accepted. Do not offer any animals that are blind, have broken bones, are deformed…”
Living in Old Testament times, sacrifices had to be perfect. Throughout the New Testament, though, we offer a different type of sacrifice towards God… ourselves! Romans 12:1 tells us:
“Brothers and sisters… I urge you to offer your bodies as a living and holy sacrifice to God, a sacred offering that brings Him pleasure; this is your reasonable, essential worship.”
The nature of the sacrifice has not changed: it still must be excellent, but you are now offering yourself to God. You are offering your work, your habits, your passions, your attitude, and even your motivations and desires.
Colossians 3:23-24 gives us the best example of what I am talking about: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Well, what does it mean to be excellent?
Excellence is defined as exceptionally good, superior, highest quality, outstanding. University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino once said, “Excellence is the unlimited ability to improve the quality of what you have to offer.”
I work for a University in the state of Missouri and classes have just started. Maybe you are starting back to school yourself. Or maybe you’re a parent who is sending your kids back to school. If you’re a sports fan, it’s the beginning of football season and you’re starting to follow your favorite team. Or if you’re a nature lover, it’s close to the beginning of my wife’s favorite season, fall.
The start of a new year has traditionally been the time where we create resolutions, and promises to start new habits. I would challenge you that NOW can be that time, too!
Strive every day to offer God your excellence.
Here are two areas to focus on:
- Character. Aspire to be like Jesus in your attitude, in your words, and in your thoughts. Are you striving for excellence in your personal character?
- Habits. It was once said “we are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” How disciplined are you spiritually? What habits are you repeatedly doing that will make you more like Jesus? Are you practicing excellence in your daily habits?
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what He wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Striving to give God excellence,