Excellence?

God is excellent. Everything about Him is excellent. There is no flaw, no imperfection, no loose screw, no minor crack, no darkness, no inconstancy, no mistake in Him. He is good, 올바른, perfecto, zen, excellent.

2 Peter 1:3-4 says that this very same perfect God has called us to His own glory and excellence, given us His Divine Nature.

WOW. HOW FREEKING COOL IS THAT??

Because this means we have God’s DNA, aka Divine Nature Awesome (thank u DDK for that) in us.

And this means that…

We. Are. Excellent.

It’s in our nature. The fibers of our new identity. It’s who we are. We don’t merely have a spirit of excellence, we ARE excellent; we have an excellent spirit.

Lemme rephrase that:

Do we have a Spirit of Excellence or an Excellent Spirit?

Holy Spirit took me to task on this one. It was brutal cuz He kinda messed with my work ethic, which badly needed to be messed with.

So, it went something like this:

A spirit of excellence can easily become an idol. For a while we may be able to fool ourselves into thinking we’re only pursuing that spirit of excellence in service to God for His Kingdom. But God doesn’t desire a sacrifice of excellence. Under the new covenant, He requires an excellent living sacrifice.

We have to stop offering blemished dead things to God. Because He is God of the living, not God of the religious zombies or the show-offs.

We have to stop trying to re-offer Christ-on-the-Cross, the Lamb-Who-Was-Slain, through a workhorse or fruits-driven mentality. Because like Hebrews says, seriously Christ’s sacrifice is TRIPLE E – Enough for Everyone for Eternity.

Ok, so to be real, I got super stupid trying to have a spirit of excellence (SOE) without the sincerity of heart.

As God started to give me more responsibilities, resources, and kingdom business, my original sincere desire to offer my very best to the Lord because He’s just so awesome began to mutate.

SOE blinded and tired me. Sometimes I just felt like a street-performing monkey, trying to crank up my SOE organ grinder to get enough juice to garner enough wages for the day so I didn’t feel like a bad non-fruit-bearing disciple. I started thinking dumb (insecure, fearful of failure) stuff like, “If I don’t have SOE, then I fail and God will not like me anymore. So I better have SOE just so I don’t fail and God will like me.”

Oh the arrogance. As if my actions that are ridikkulus dictate the will and decisions of God, who is Love, who is Unconditional. As if I were God’s puppeteer, or He my vending machine.

I began bowing to an SOE-idol to soothe fears of failure and falling out of favor (that’s a whole string of really big F’s). The FFFF’s drove me to do lesser feats that were devoid of Love because I was pursuing an SOE-idol instead of pursuing Him with an excellent spirit. Pastor Ray C. of Living Way Church shared that every idol comes with its own set of rules that demand to be obeyed if you want what that idol promises to give you. But an idol’s rules opposes God’s law, so you end up with a whole mountain o’ lawlessness.

As I started living by the law of Producing Excellent Work (PEW) in order to feel approved by God and man, I began to actually do the opposite. I rushed into things. Made poor decisions. Didn’t wait on God. Prematurely tried to begin and finish projects. Strained my back and strove, struggled with burdens, all the while devoid of love.

So, because I don’t want to be one of those people who looks at herself in the mirror and then forgets what she looks like, or like a dog that goes back to its vomit and eats it instead of a fresh juicy steak, I’ve listed for myself–and for you, if you should so choose to agree with all the wisdom that’s just jam-packed into this post–all the symptoms that there’s a nasty little bugger of an SOE-idol chillin in the chambers of your chest. CHHHHeck it ~

1. you begin to despise the work you once had such vision and passion for

2. you feel burdened. like, really burdened so that it starts to show physically–your eyes get a little sunken in and gray, your shoulders begin to stoop, your chest is always tight, you don’t breathe as deeply, you have lots and lots of knots like a rope that a lonely, bored sailor spent a year-long voyage knotting up…

3. you focus on the quantity and frequency of produce & fruit more than the quality and health of the farmers who are producing it

4. you begin to prophetically weigh everyone you meet mainly according to their gifts & talents that could be useful in growing your ministry, fulfilling your agenda, helping you achieve a certain goal/mission/dream/vision

5. related to #4, because you began to view yourself and other folks solely as receptacles of gifts, talents, resources and labor to poke and prod to get desired excellent results from, you start to feel like an unwanted cattle herder or cow milker

6. you start to compare and compete with other leaders or people-who-are-doing-awesome-things around you, always checking to see if you are producing more visible fruit & products

7. you eventually stop trying because any joy you previously had  running for the things God put on your heart gets snuffed out

8. you begin to lose vision & passion for th0se things that used to fill you with wonder, electricity, joy.

9. you forget that Jesus is the reason for every season

10. you find yourself having less to no grace for yourself and others when mistakes are made or flaws are unveiled

11.  you feel completely and totally inadequate in whatever capacity your SOE-idol chooses to rear its horned head in, and you begin to throw yourself weekly pity parties that no one comes to except for you

12. you feel like you’re running on gas fumes or you start imagining yourself as a robot who’s short-circuiting

13. you begin to define yourself by external standards of what you have produced/done

14. related to #13, you forget that Christ in you defines your excellence; that Holy Spirit intertwined with your spirit makes you incontrovertibly excellent–and this is what will produce the fruit, the works, the glitz glam pizzazz oohs and aahs (it’s not  “fruit = Holy Spirit” but “Holy Spirit = fruit”)

Now don’t freak out if, after going through this not-thorough list, you feel like you got a stinky SOE-idol. Here are 5 easy steps to get rid of it.

Step One:  realize you have a problem (most likely you’ve already accomplished this step)

Step Two:  confess and repent your idolatry (i.e. take that idol and smash it into a gajillion and one pieces)

Step Three:  forgive yourself as God has forgiven you (i.e. don’t fall into the pride or self-condemnation of “ohhh how could i have been so blind woe is me blah blah blah”)

Step Four:  step back from your work for a minute–stop all activity if necessary–and assess what was truly HS-inspired and what was you PEWing without Him. Smash the Holy-Spirit-less PEWs into a gajillion pieces.

Step Five:  go spend some time with people who love you for the excellent person you are and not for the things you can do excellently

 

So, in one partially non-sequitur sentence, what is the lesson I learned?

Idolatry is idolatry no matter which way you look at it, and God likes to smash our idols.

PTL Hallelujah, get ready to rumble.

 

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