January 4, 2016 Excellence

As we look forward to this new year I know we all have good intentions to improve in some way
from last year. It is what we do, whether we verbalize it or not. In ourselves we want to be
healthier, happier, more stable, more prepared financially for the future, or we just want to be a
better version of ourselves. There is nothing wrong with any of these things. In and of
themselves they are good and they are good for us to strive for. Here is the issue: we strive in
our own ability to do these things and we have little success. When things don’t fall into place in
our effort to improve, we just give up. We lack the commitment level that is needed to
accomplish these things. I am not saying that no one can do this, there are people that are hard
headed enough to accomplish anything.

I know what it is like to make a resolution and give up quickly. You feel like a loser. In my
sermon Sunday, I read a quote from Aristotle that says: “We are what we repeatedly do.
Therefore, excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Now it stands to reason that if this is true for
excellence, it is also true about mediocrity. So going from mediocrity to excellence comes from
making some changes in our life. We need to change our habit of failing to a habit of
succeeding. So how is that done? Read Colossians 3:23:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord not

for men – Colossians 3:23 (NIV-84)

A change in our perspective can change how we operate. We are working for the Lord so that
should change how we approach our resolution. We are working and giving our very best to
glorify God. When we repeatedly get up each day and surrender, by faith, our lives to God’s will
for us and work at it with all of our hearts then excellence becomes a habit. Sounds simple but
there is something we need to consider that will greatly assist us in our pursuit of excellence.
That thing is faith.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not

seen. For by it the men of old gained approval. By faith we understand that
the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not
made out of things which are visible. – Hebrews 11:1-3 (NASB)

If you are a Christian, you, by faith, accepted Christ in to your heart to live within you. When
you first felt the Lord calling you into a relationship with him it was faith that allowed you to
believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that the price he paid on the cross would reconcile
your sin debt. By faith, you believed that when you admitted that you were a sinner that he
would forgive you and cleanse you from unrighteousness. You believe that Jesus’ death was
sufficient because you believe that he lived a perfect life, an excellent life. This is the life that
lives in you! That gives you the ability to live a life of excellence in 2016 and beyond. So here
is your resolution for 2016: resolve to give God your very best everyday and have faith in the life
of Jesus that is in you to accomplish your resolution. Happy New Year!