I wrote this post for Laced With Grace a few years ago. Hope you enjoy.
I'm about to dash off to my New Year's Eve service.
Happy New Year to all of you, I'll stop by and visit soon.
I am still doing my Becoming a Woman of Excellence bible study. This is really not quite what I expected it to be. In fact it is much more. I know I said it before but excellence encompasses so much! I am now on the chapter entitled “Excellence, Exemplified by Obedience. This is truly my area of weakness. I really need to learn to obey God in spite of what is going on around me and in spite of what my critics may say. If I want to become a woman of excellence obedience has to become a habit. I want to be in God’s perfect will. I want to walk in the spirit of excellence. Obedience then is my goal. To listen and obey and allow God to have his way in my life.”
My Journal, May 19, 2003.Obedience, four years later is still sometimes a struggle. But I remind myself that excellence doesn’t mean I get it perfectly every time. It means I keep trying. (2011 insert here... this is still an area of weakness for me)
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it." Isaiah 30:21Sometimes the struggle with obedience comes when we question whether or not we’re really hearing God’s voice. However as you can see in the above verse, his Holy Spirit is there to guide us and always prompts us to make the right choice. Also, when we’re not sure we simply need to seek his counsel, spend time in prayer, study his word and ask him what is his will for our lives.
And being found in appearance as a man,God's ultimate desire for us is that we would become more like his son. As Christians, Jesus is our role model. Just as he was tested and tried so will we be. However, the question is will we obey even in the difficult times?
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Our desire to be strong delights Him but we must allow him to teach us that excellence is a lifelong process and that He is our only source of strength. Growth occurs when we maintain our walk with God remembering that the Christian life is a process rather than giving up in frustration because we cannot live up to the perfect standards.When we focus on developing a deeper relationship with God, he begins to reveal to us what it is he requires of us in our pursuit of excellence. And one of the main things is total, undeniable, complete surrender. For excellence is rooted in surrender. He wants us to relinquish control of our lives and totally surrender
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20The above verse shows a portrait of total surrender, the verse below shows the price…
Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23 NIVAccording to Luke 9:23 I have to
And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, Colossians 1:10Part one of the Bible Study, I mentioned in my previous post was titled, Excellence –A Goal Worth Pursuing. As I went through the study I came up with my own simple “definition” of what it means to have the spirit of excellence and walk in it based on a few scriptures I read:
Walking in the spirit of excellence, God's way begins first of all with having God’s love in your heart. It also includes walking in God’s way and doing the things that he expects of you, in a way that pleases him, even if it is different from what the world says. Walking in excellence as a believer means striving to gain God's approval in everything you do no matter how big or how small. It doesn't mean doing things perfectly but it does mean doing your best.As I continued my quest for excellence I came to realize that while it seemed hard to measure up before, the world's standard requires me to give a whole lot less of myself than God’s standards because He expects us to give our all. There is a price to pay for excellence but, there is so much to gain...
It is important that everything we do be done with excellence. When we do things with excellence we attract attention. We stand out from mediocrity. Daniel moved from prisoner to prime minister in a strange land only because everything he did was done in excellence. If I want to attract God’s eye, if I want to attract positive attention excellence has to be in me. I want to be excellent in all that I do as a woman, a teacher and most of all a child of God.
Excerpt from My Journal September 10, 2002At that time, I had a desire for excellence however, I still had no clue what excellence was all about. But, I desired it. I longed for it. A little over a month after I made that entry in my journal I was invited to a women’s conference by a coworker. When I received my package on registering I opened it. Inside was a bible study called, Becoming a Woman of Excellence by Cynthia Heald.
Powerful words I’m sure you’ll agree and really, isn’t it what God thinks about us that really matters?“Now, go look in the mirror and smile the biggest smile you can and say I am beautiful in God’s eyes. I am filled with His deeper inner beauty! My life and my heart are His.”
“Perhaps you don’t have enough faith…
Maybe you just didn’t fast and pray enough for your loved one to be healed…Father,
Maybe you’re just not Christian enough…
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3They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire. Nehemiah 1:3 NIVAs you can see, the news wasn’t good news. The wall of Jerusalem, which was a form of protection from the enemy had been torn down. Nehemiah’s heart was touched by the plight of his people and he immediately went into fasting and prayer as to what God would have him to do.
4. When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.11. Oh Lord let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.I was cupbearer to the king. Nehemiah 1:4,11What stood out to me in this verse is when Nehemiah said, I was cupbearer to the king. I’m not certain what the job entailed but I do know that Nehemiah was in a comfortable position away from all that was happening at home. You can go as far as to say Nehemiah was in a comfort zone.
15 So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. 16. When our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God. Nehemiah 6:15-16What’s your comfort zone? Is God calling you out of it? If he is just remember that although it may seem a difficult thing for you to do he’s going to give you everything you need to get it done. Not only that, he’ll be with you every step of the way. He’s just that kind of God.