Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Excellence in Holiness

I love music. Wait, let me rephrase that, I love GOOD music. When I say good, I mean the skillful excellence of a musician who has spent hours honing his skills, abilities, and talents. For me, the ability to create new music that moves the soul is part of being created in the image of God.

This leads me to another thought: Excellence in everything is what God requires of us everyday. Excellence. I am not sure many people really understand that concept any more. In an age of fast food and gimmicks we are losing the ability to focus ourselves and discipline ourselves for years to hone a craft into something truly excellent.

We Christians have been particularly horrible in this field. We often think, "its Christian so it is automatically good." Often times this thinking is more a revelation of laziness than true spiritual conviction. Some of the worst music, movies, sermons, and books have been written under the guise of "Christian."

Colossians 3:23-24 says "Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ."

Paul wrote these words to those who were slaves in the ancient world. His instructions were for them to give their duties, however mundane they may be their full attention and glorify God in their product.

You get that? God wants excellence even if it is going to go for the benefit of someone else. Even if you have an unreasonable boss, even if nobody is going to notice, God is watching and He expects excellence from His people. This is much, much deeper than simply saying God wants us to do well or try hard. God wants more than our best. He wants us to reveal His glory in what we do.

In 1 Peter 1:15-16 God tells us this "but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” God's Holiness demands excellence. If we are his people we must demand Holiness of ourselves and thus be a people of excellence in all things.

Excellence is an inseparable part of Holiness. God doesn't cut corners or settle for less than what brings Himself the most Glory. He didn't stop halfway through creating the double helix of the DNA strand and decide it was good enough. He didn't tell Adam to deal with being alone. He didn't settle for letting his people rot in sin but gave His Son as the sacrifice for their failures. God is a God of Excellence.

The above video is an example of excellence at work. I can't imagine how many years of practice and work it took for those gentleman to play that well and that creatively. However, some will look at it and be put out because the drummer has a mohawk, or it isn't a style of music they like, or it isn't "Christian" and therefore it is evil. It is a shame when the unbelieving world shows more creativity and more discipline than those who are supposed to be connected to THE CREATOR.

See, laziness often cloaks itself in tradition and style. These men are attending the Berklee College of music. 60 years ago it might have been unheard of for this style of music to be played in a music school. However, in true wisdom, the instructors at Berklee College of Music were not willing to sacrifice creativity in order to continue a certain tradition. Instead of demanding a style, they obviously demand excellence. Their commitment is to excellence and they let creativity flow.

We must do the same. Excellence in all things no matter how small or big. A Christ follower is called to glorify God in everything. Do you bring excellence to your life? Is your marriage, parenting, job, worship, discipleship, and fellowship evidence that you bring an attitude of excellence to everything?

Do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. We work for Him who is Above Reality.

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