Join the Pursuit of Excellence
Part of my ministry is providing training for those who desire to be biblical counselors. This training takes place in our church and also on the internet for people all around the world. We’ve had a really great response to our training program! The majority of our students rocket out of the gate and are working like crazy in the pursuit of their educational goals. Over time, some of them begin to drop off the radar and their lesson submissions dwindle to nothing. When we contact them, they are quick to tell us they love the program, but their circumstances have made it more difficult to be as diligent as they were in the beginning of their studies. I completely understand this; it took me 6 years to finish my undergraduate degree for the same reasons. Life gets in the way.
Maybe you have been working on something that is faltering under difficult circumstances and pressures. It is pretty easy to give up when things are hard or painful and, let’s be honest; we are not really encouraged to persevere in our society. When our beliefs or theology are challenged, many just back off so as not to offend sensitive liberal thinkers. When wrong becomes right in our culture, we retreat to our churches and complain rather than taking the risks that the pursuit of excellence requires.
Just as discomfort and difficulty make it hard for us to pursue excellence, so does becoming too comfortable in our good circumstances. We are too cozy and snuggled in our Christian worlds and we don’t want to move! We cease risk-taking in serving God and merely coast along. This is dangerous for Christians; this kind of contentment keeps us from moving forward spiritually. We don’t want to take a risk or rock the boat because we know that growth often means pain. We don’t like change very much. Change is a never-ending part of the Christian life! Progressive sanctification is by its very nature, change! Change from who you were last week to a greater Christ-likeness this week. You cannot fall back on, “Well, it’s just the way I am,” because of what happened to you at regeneration.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 9-11 (NASB)
You also cannot rest on yesterday’s accomplishments. For growth to continue to occur, there must be tension in your life; there must be movement in a forward direction. If you are content to sit back and think about the great spiritual growth you had last year, or that time when you did this or that for the Lord, you are in peril of becoming stagnant. You must continue the pursuit of excellence! So, let this be a call to invigorate your spiritual life. A reason to commit to a time of self-examination and to determine if you are resting on your spiritual laurels or if you are indeed pursuing excellence in your life. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14 (NASB)