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Finishing Strong

Finishing Strong

Scripture: 1 Kings 3:10-11:10

Summary: Finishing strong is what counts most. It is good to start strong but unless you finish strong it is of no value.

Finishing Strong ”A good start isn’t enough”

1 Kings 3:10-13, I Kings 11:3-6 & 9-11, I Cor 9:24-27

Introduction

A.With the New Year approaching, people often make some resolutions that they want to accomplish for the next year. Usually before the month is over they have already given up on them.

B.Here are the year’s top ten New Year’s resolutions.

C.Making a decision to change or to do something is nice but that is usually not enough. You need to have the ability to see it through to the end and not quit. Have you ever noticed in life that a good start isn’t always enough? Getting a good start is important. If you don’t get a good start your chances of finishing strong are not that good, but of the two, finishing strong is most the important. You can always overcome a bad start, but you can’t overcome a bad finish. If you finish bad, you lose! A good start alone is not enough to get us to the finish line, or to the winners’ circle.

D.If you don’t believe me, ask the 1969 Baltimore Orioles, who dominated major league baseball that year. Won 109 games — more than any other team. And their opponents in the World Series were the New York Mets. Everyone expected the Orioles to win easily, and when they won the first game it seemed as though they had it in the bag. In just four more games it was over, but the New York Mets were the ones wearing that World Series ring. In 1969 the Orioles and all of Baltimore were convinced of the truth that a good start isn’t enough.

E.What about the 2005 football season for the Indianaplis Colts. The start of the 2005 season for the Colts was incredible. They started the season with a 13-game winning streak, and entering the playoffs, were heavily favored to go to the Super Bowl. Considering that the team that they played next was the Pittsburg Steelers a team that they blew out the past 2 years in the playoffs. However, the Colts were upset by the #6-seeded Steelers, and their season ended. The week following the game the city of Indianapolis did not throw a parade to celebrate the Colts 13 game winning streak at the beginning of the season. Good starts are not enough.

F. We all have experienced the reality of this truth in our own everyday lives. Perhaps, we start out real good on a new diet or exercise program as part of our new year resolutions. Or on a project around the house, a class in school, a job in church or in paying off some bills. I mean we are out of that starting gate like hungry grey hounds chasing a rabbit. But time passes and the diet ends, the exercise stops, we fail the class, the job doesn’t get done and the bills are still where we left them. You see, though there is nothing wrong with a good start, it just isn’t enough.

G.Today, I want to take a look at a man who had an awesome start but had a lousy finish, King Solomon.

Solomon had a good start I Kings 3:10-13

A.He was humble and dependent on God.

1.At the very beginning of his reign as king he went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices to God. The text says that he offered a thousand burnt offerings on the altar. And that night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and said, “What do you want? Ask and I will give it to you.” If you were Solomon what would you have asked for? Now, Solomon being a new king, was feeling overwhelmed by the task and the amount of people who would be looking to him for all things. So Solomon made this request of God, “O Lord my God, now you have made king instead of my father David, but I am like a child who doesn’t know his way around. And here I am among your own chosen people, a nation so great they are too numerous to count! Give me an understanding mind so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this nation of yours.” I Kings 3:10-13. And the Bible says, “Since you asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have you asked for the death of your enemies, but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never be anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for both riches and honor so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings.”

2.Solomon started strong. He was humble and knew he needed to depend on God to succeed.

3.He also had a good prayer life. One of the most beautiful and powerful prayers ever prayed can be found in I Kings 8:22-30. When the building of the temple was complete Solomon had the priests bring the ark into the Holy Place, and when the priest withdrew from the holy Place, the glory of the Lord filled the temple in a great cloud. Then Solomon gathered the whole assembly of Israel in front of the Temple. And he prayed a prayer of dedication. It was an awesome prayer.

B.He had a good father I Kings 2:1-3

1.Solomon was born into the home of King David. Now David was not a perfect man. He made mistakes but God said this of David, “He is a man after my own heart.” I don’t imagine higher words could be given to anyone. Solomon had a good father.

2.Now, fathers are important in the raising of children. Not only is it important to have a father but it is also important to have a father who is a good man. To be fortunate enough to be born into a home where the father is present and where the father is also a good man is to begin life with a good start.

C.He did great things for God

1.During Solomon’s fourth year as King the construction of the temple of the Lord began. And what a project it was. The Temple was 90 feet long, 30 feet wide and 45 feet high. Tens of thousands of people were involved in this seven-year project. He used 4,000 tons of pure gold plus 40,000 tons of silver! The value of this gold and silver would be valued at $60 Billion not counting bronze, iron, precious stones, cedar wood and labor. Just to compare to day. The construction cost of Solomon’s Temple would have been around $100 Billion! Just to compare this to today, the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center is expected to be completed in 2009 at a cost of $2 billion.

2.Solomon did great things for God.

D.Solomon wrote many good books

1.Solomon is the author of 3 Books; Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.

Solomon did not finish strong I Kings 11:9-11

A.I think you will agree with me that Solomon had a good start. You could say a “He had a great start!” But he had a lousy finish. He looked like a sure winner. It is this great start that makes it so hard to understand his lousy finish. Solomon did not finish strong, he had a lousy finish. “The Lord was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the Lord, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice. He had warned Solomon specifically about worshiping other gods, but Solomon did not listen to the Lord’s command. So now the Lord said to him, “Since you have not kept my covenant and have disobeyed my laws, I will surely tear the kingdom away from you and give it to one of your servants.” And scripture goes on to say; that if it wasn’t for David, and his loyalty to God, God would have ripped the kingdom out of Solomon’s hands during his own lifetime. But for the sake of David, God would not do it in Solomon’s lifetime but rather in Solomon’s son’s lifetime.

E

B.This is what I am talking about, finishing strong is more important that starting strong. Solomon went from being God’s man to having God tear the kingdom from his hands. And the only reason God didn’t do it to Solomon directly was because of David not because of the good Solomon had done in the past, you see that didn’t matter and Solomon couldn’t say, “but God I did this and I did this, I wrote three books of the Bible doesn’t that count?” Those things didn’t really matter now, because a good start isn’t enough in the eyes of God. And Solomon was going down, and he was going down hard, because he had a lousy finish.

C.Every one cheers the runners at the start of the race. But the real race is fought and won on the back roads, where not many see and few cheer and that is where many choose to quit and they never make it to hear the cheers at the finish line.

D.Why did disaster strike in the life of Solomon? Because he stopped walking in the ways of the Lord. What did Solomon do that was so bad? Solomon married many foreign women, hundreds, and most of them were not followers of God, they worshiped idols. And these wives led Solomon away from God. He began to worship these false gods. He built altars and shrines to these gods. Solomon had a great start. He had a good father, received good advice, was humble and dependent on God, had a great prayer life, did good works for God, and he wrote three good books. But in the end we find the Lord becoming angry with Solomon and tearing the Kingdom from Him, Why? BECAUSE he no longer walked in the ways of the Lord.

E.He allowed other things in his life to replace God. It happens still today. Many start strong and are passionate about God, but somewhere along the line, God gets replaced by some other idol. Maybe it is pursuit of money, or compromising by dating or marrying a non Christian boyfriend/girlfriend, allowing unforgiveness to stay in your heart. All of these can cause a person who has started strong to “no longer walk in the ways of the Lord” and end up finishing lousy.

Paul was concerned about finishing strong I Cor 9:24-27

A.When Paul came to Christ he blew out of the blocks faster then anyone ever has. But Paul knew that there was more to a race then the start. Listen to his own words, “In a race, everyone runs but only one gets first prize. So run your race to win. To win the contest you must deny yourselves many things that would keep you from doing your best. An athlete goes to all this trouble just to win a blue ribbon or a silver cup, but we do it for a heavenly reward that never disappears. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I fight to win. I’m not just shadow boxing or playing around. Like an athlete I punish my body, treating it roughly, training it to do what it should, not what it wants to. Otherwise I fear that after enlisting others for the race, I myself might be declared unfit and ordered to stand aside.” 1 Cor 9:24-27.

B.Paul was concerned about finishing strong. A good start isn’t enough in the eyes of God. A good start and past victories, do not make up for a lousy finish. If Solomon could not coast in on the waves of his good start, we dare not think that we can either.

C.A good start is important. It is important getting out of the blocks fast. But trophies are given only to those who cross the finish line. The bible is full of stories of men and women who had great starts for God but who did not finish strong.

1.Twelve spies were sent by Moses to spy out the Promised land, and only two finished strong, Caleb and Joshua, the other ten had a lousy finish. They all started strong. They were leaders chosen among the million Israelites. These were Israel’s best and brightest. They weren’t rookies. They had a proven track record. They started strong but had a lousy finish. Numbers 13.

2.Then there was King Saul, Noah’s sons, the high priest Eli. They all started out strong, but did not finish strong.

D.The fact that good men, godly men, faithful men, men like Solomon, the ten spies, Saul, the high priest Eli, Gideon and Samson, the fact that men, who were on fire, men who flew out of the starting blocks, men who had a commanding half time lead, finished poorly, put a godly fear in Paul and it puts a godly fear in me.

So how do we make sure that we finish strong?

A.How can you and I ensure that we cross the finish line with power? We need to have “staying power.”

B.Stay Away

1.Stay away from things that slow you down. Stay away from people that slow you down.

2.Realize what your weaknesses are and be smart enough to stay away from them. As Paul said, “Flee, youthful lusts.” Rather than think you can handle strong temptation, stay away from it.

3.“Staying Away” from your weak areas will help you to “finish strong.”

C.Stay Focused

1.Don’t get distracted by other things. It is going to take endurance to finish strong. Be willing to deny yourself when you want to quit or give up, tell yourself to keep on pressing on, don’t give up. Remind yourself about the reward is that is waiting for you.

2.It’s endurance that determines whether or not we will finish strong. And endurance is the fruit of godly character. The Christian life is not a 100 yard dash. It’s a marathon. It’s a long race, and long races don’t only require speed. They require grit, guts, determination and finishing power.

D.It is never too late to begin doing what is right. As long as you’re breathing, it is never to late to get back on track. It is never too late to repent from getting side tracked and “stay in” “stay close” “stay away” “stay focused”

E.It’s never too late to confess your sin to the Lord in genuine repentance and receive His forgiveness. You may have messed up and messed big time but the race isn’t over yet. Just because you have fallen down does not mean you still can’t finish strong.

The Power of the Tongue

The Power of the Tongue

People die because of something said. Tongues can be weapons of mass destruction, launching holocausts and wars. Tongues can also be the death of marriages, families, friendships, churches, careers, hopes, understanding, reputations, missionary efforts, and governments.

But people also live because of something said. The tongue can be “a tree of life” (Proverbs 15:4). Tongues reconcile peoples and make peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9). Tongues can make marriages sweet, families strong, and churches healthy. Tongues can give hope to the despairing, advance understanding, and spread the gospel.

So what will come out of your mouth today, death or life? “Sword thrusts” or “healing” (Proverbs 12:18)?

What Fills Your Heart?

It will all depend on what’s filling your heart. Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart [the] mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45). A critical heart produces a critical tongue. A self-righteous heart produces a judgmental tongue. A bitter heart produces an acerbic tongue. An ungrateful heart produces a grumbling tongue.

“The words you speak will all depend on what’s filling your heart.”

But a loving heart produces a gracious tongue. A faithful heart produces a truthful tongue. A peaceful heart produces a reconciling tongue. A trusting heart produces an encouraging tongue.

So fill your heart with grace by soaking in your Bible. Soak in Matthew 5, or Romans 12, or 1 Corinthians 13, or Philippians 2. And be very careful taking in the words of death in the newspaper, the radio, the TV, or the blog.

And pray: “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3).

The world is full of words of death. “The whole world lies in the power of the evil one” (1 John 5:19), who “was a murderer from the beginning . . . and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Let us not join him in his “restless evil” (James 3:8).

For “we are from God” (1 John 5:19), and we believe in his Son, Jesus, “the Word” (John 1:1), “the truth and the life” (John 14:6), and who alone has “the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Let us join him in speaking these.

Today’s Words

Today, make your mouth “a fountain of life” (Proverbs 10:11). Be “slow to speak” in general (James 1:19). Encourage more than you critique. Seek opportunities to speak kind, tenderhearted words (Ephesians 4:32). Say something affectionate to a loved one at an unexpected time. Seek to only speak words that are “good for building up,” that “give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29).

Be a person whose mouth is full of life.

“And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up” (Acts 20:32).

DISTRACTIONS AND DETRACTORS – PART 2  

DISTRACTIONS AND DETRACTORS – PART 2

 

TEXT: 1 SAM 17: 1-58

1Sa 17:28 David’s oldest brother Eliab heard him talking with the soldiers. Eliab was angry at him and said, “What are you doing here, anyway? Who’s taking care of that little flock of sheep out in the desert? You spoiled brat! You came here just to watch the fighting, didn’t you?”

  1. THEY MAKE YOU FEEL UNWORTHY AND IRRESPONSIBLE.

Sometimes the operations of Distractions and Detractors are subtle and silent

“Who did you leave the sheep with?”
“Who’s taking care of that little flock of sheep out in the desert”

See the CV of the man been accused of irresponsibility. Eliab knew but his ministry of distractions has a better hold on him.

1Sa 17:34 “Your Majesty,” David said, “I take care of my father’s sheep. Any time a lion or a bear carries off a lamb, 
1Sa 17:35 I go after it, attack it, and rescue the lamb. And if the lion or bear turns on me, I grab it by the throat and beat it to death. 
1Sa 17:36 I have killed lions and bears, and I will do the same to this heathen Philistine, who has defied the army of the living God.

  1. Every query that is intended to discourage me, I reject it.
    2. Every name that any member of my family has called me that you did not give me, I reject.
    3. LORD, ARISE AND MAKE ME WORTHY OF ALL THE PROMISES YOU HAVE GIVEN ME!!
    4. DADDY, INCREASE MY VALUE! RAISE MY STOCK AND LET THE WHOLE WORLD KNOW WHAT YOU HAVE MADE OF ME!
    5. I am tired of the valley, announce me this year in front of my detractors and distractions.
    6. Every word that has been spoken to me by people I respected and is killing me – delete it in my software!
    7. I announce, (insert name) you are worthy, you are useful, you are a winner, you are relevant.
    8. Lord, put space between me and all distractive forces that is sucking away my energy for progress.
  2. THEY CALL YOU NAMES AND TALK YOU DOWN
    ” you spoiled brat” CEV
    ” I know thy pride”
    “Insolence and wicked intentions” – ISV
  3. Every tag and name of distraction that life has given me, I reject.
    10. Whatever you do for me this year – UPGRADE my name LORD!
    11. Give me a name that is bigger than financial distractions and detractors.
    12. Give me a name that is bigger than emotional distractions and detractors.
    13. Give me a name that is bigger than health distractions and detractors.
    14. Anytime distractions call me a name that you did not give to me – ANSWER THEM!
  4. THEY BELIEVE YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.

” you came here to just see the battle”

  1. Grant me uncommon focus in the midst of DOUBT, INTIMIDATION AND HARASSMENT
    16. Even when am being abused because they believe am not up to par, surprise them with the power of my vision.
    17. I am not here to count numbers, in the name of Jesus, I will matter!
    18. I declare to my business and ministry and calling – ARISE AND SHOW THEM THAT I MEAN BUSINESS
    LET MY LIFE REVEAL YOUR GLORY!
  2. THEY KEEP USING YOUR PREVIOUS SOFTWARE AND STATUS TO ASSESS AND JUDGE YOU.

1Sa 17:33 “No,” answered Saul. “How could you fight him? You’re just a boy, and he has been a soldier all his life!”

  1. Every outdated software that is being used to delay or destroy my destiny – cancel it
    20. EVERY LABEL THAT DESTRACTORS AND DISTRACTIONS HAD GIVEN DUE TO MY HISTORY, I TEAR THEM COMPLETELY

 

WAIT

Psalm 27:14: Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Proverbs 3:7-8: Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

DISTRACTIONS AND DETRACTORS

DISTRACTIONS AND DETRACTORS

 

TEXT: 1 SAM 17: 1-58

 

1Sa 17:16 Goliath came out and gave his challenge every morning and every evening for forty days.

1Sa 17:17 One day, Jesse told David, “Hurry and take this sack of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread to your brothers at the army camp.

1Sa 17:26 David asked some soldiers standing nearby, “What will a man get for killing this Philistine and stopping him from insulting our people? Who does that worthless Philistine think he is? He’s making fun of the army of the living God!”

1Sa 17:27 The soldiers told David what the king would give the man who killed Goliath.

 

CHARACTERISTICS AND OPERATIONAL STYLE OF DISTRACTIONS AND DETRACTORS

 

  1. DISTRACTIONS AND DETRACTORS DO NOT WANT YOU TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

1Sa 17:17 One day, Jesse told David

 

All these people who are facing Goliath were season men of battle but yet none of them can match this giant until one day WHEN David showed up!

 

  1. Every distraction that has been holding back my help and helpers for years- TODAY, you are dethroned!
  2. I decree and declare today – that my destiny and goals will rise above all forms distractions.
  3. I announce concerning you ( insert name), every distraction and detractor will be a stepping stone to greatness for me.
  4. All the Goliath distractions that has become part of me and has been harassing me – Send my helpers until I get help – in a hurry.
  5. Every detractor that has been intimidating me for past days and months, this month – shut them up!
  6. Any power – spiritual or physical that is laying claim to my growth and aspiration – incapacitate them!

 

  1. THEY ARE ALWAYS AT ALERT TO HEAR SOMETHING ABOUT YOU AND YOUR PROGRESS!

 

1Sa 17:28 David’s oldest brother Eliab heard him talking with the soldiers. Eliab was angry at him and said, “What are you doing here, anyway? Who’s taking care of that little flock of sheep out in the desert? You spoiled brat! You came here just to watch the fighting, didn’t you?”

 

” heard him talking with the soldiers”

  1. Every weakness in my life that has opened doors for distraction and detractors to afflict me repeatedly- I shut them now!
  2. Father, every ear waiting for a bad news about me – surprise them.
  3. The news that will spread and cause me shame – I cancel it.
  4. Every monitoring spirit, internal and external on assignment to hurt me – I bind you in Jesus name.
  5. Any ear that will hear of my project and proceed to distract me – distract them.
  6. Whatever it will take – shield me from “ears” that has evil heart towards me and my goals.
  7. Every friendship and association that makes me celebrate mediocrity – disperse us!

 

  1. THEY ARE ALWAYS ANGRY AT YOU.

1Sa 17:28 David’s oldest brother Eliab heard him talking with the soldiers. ELIAB WAS ANGRY AT HIM and..

Even if and when they don’t show it, they are secretly angry at the progress you are about make!

 

DANIEL AND THE “HIGH” OFFICIALS

DAN 6:5 THEN THESE MEN SAID, “WE SHALL NOT FIND ANY GROUND FOR COMPLAINT AGAINST THIS DANIEL UNLESS WE FIND IT IN CONNECTION WITH THE LAW OF HIS GOD.”

Dan 6:7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

Dan 6:8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”

Dan 6:9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

 

  1. Every “high” official that is intent on causing me pain – inconvenience them – give them an assignment.
  2. Every attack against my faith in you – fall, scatter and disappear!
  3. Every law or rule that is being planned to be signed or made that will distract me – I cancel it
  4. Every unwarranted anger at me and my family – subside in Jesus name.
  5. Every demonic provocation at my progress, be aborted.
  6. Every spirit of envy circulating around my family , business and ministry – I decree that you will fail in the name of Jesus!

 

Isa 54:17 no weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.”

 

  1. Every weapon of jealousy and envy detracting and judging me – I condemn you.
  2. I decree ( insert name ), your heritage will not be aborted!
  3. Every arrangement and set lifestyle that intend to make me useless – scatter!

 

  1. THEY WILL ALWAYS QUERY YOUR INTENTIONS NO MATTER HOW LOFTY THEY ARE.

1Sa 17:28 David’s oldest brother Eliab heard him talking with the soldiers. Eliab was angry at him and said, “What are you doing here, anyway?

 

“What are you doing here, anyway?”

” why did you come down?”

 

  1. For every effort that I have made that is being tarnished, fight for me.
  2. From now, my efforts will not waste.
  3. Every detractor and power of distraction that is querying my plans – destroy them irreversibly!
  4. I decree concerning you, (insert name), no man will be powerful enough to rubbish you financially
  5. I decree concerning you, (insert name), no man will be powerful enough to rubbish you emotionally.
  6. I terminate every power of delay that is destroying my intentions and efforts.

 

FOR WE HAVE PRAYED IN JESUS NAME! AMEN!

THE SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE – PART I PASTOR AUSTIN ESEKE

THE SPIRIT OF EXCELLENCE – PART I PASTOR AUSTIN ESEKE

 

Foundation Scriptures:

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. Daniel 6:3 KJV

 

Daniel and his friends had ten times more wisdom and understanding than the others. Daniel interpreted dreams and had an excellent spirit. The king promoted him ruler over the whole province of Babylon. Daniel raised up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They would not bow to the golden image and were thrown into the fiery furnace. Daniel would not stop praying to the one true God and was thrown into the lion’s den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were delivered from the fire in the furnace. Daniel was delivered from the lions. God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths.

 

  1. 1. What Is a Spirit of Excellence?

 

A spirit of excellence, one anchored to the things of God, is the key that will bring you through trials and tribulations. It will enable you to succeed, have favor, and fulfill all that God has ordained for you to accomplish in your lifetime. How would you like to have an excellent spirit?

Definitions of Excellence: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good, distinction, quality, superiority, brilliance, greatness, merit, caliber, eminence, and mastery.

  1. 2. Having a Spirit of Excellence Will Always Produce Fruit.

 

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16 KJV

Father, we ask You, in the name of Jesus, to help us develop an excellent spirit, one that is anchored to the Word of God.

Characteristics of an Excellent Spirit: great character, integrity, honesty, compassion, humble, teachable, ever learning, great work habits, dependable, meekness, consistent, confident, determination, diligence, adaptability, persistent, goal-oriented, enthusiastic, forgiving, self-disciplined, reliable, great stewardship, generous, grateful, bold, guard your heart, positive attitude, faithful, hopeful, surrendered to God, and Christ-like.

God blesses excellence! Where you find excellence, you will find God’s favor.

  1. We Must Pursue Excellence in All Areas of Our Lives.

 

Whatever may be your task, work at it heartily (from the soul), as [something done] for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23

See Proverbs 22:29 and Ecclesiastes 9:10

Enemies of Excellence: mediocre, average, procrastinator, low self-esteem, lazy, compromise, low motivation, poor communicator, prideful, complacent, arrogant, boastful, conceited, callous, inconsistent, mentality of grass is always greener on the other side, excuse-driven, unreliable, unforgiving, fearful, negative, doubtful, slothful, easily offended, faithless, rebellious towards God’s Word, ignoring the Holy Spirit, and spirit of religion and tradition.

What Is Mediocre? Average, ordinary, of only moderate quality, not very good, middling, middle-of-the-road, uninspired, undistinguished, indifferent, unexceptional, unexciting, unremarkable, and run-of-the-mill.

Mediocre or average is being the best of the worst and the worst of the best. Are you happy with being mediocre? Do you believe that this is God’s best for you? Don’t conform to average or mediocre just to fit in. God’s best never intended for you to be just average or ordinary.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

  1. 4. Apply Excellence in Every Area of Life.

 

Workplace: Show up ten minutes early. Don’t pack up to leave until you’re off the clock. Don’t surf the Internet and play games. Don’t take excessive breaks or long lunches. Do not steal office supplies. Do above what is expected. Work hard. Be a team player. Study to improve your skill set at your job. Keep your work area clean. Have a great attitude. Look people in the eye. Be polite. Treat others as you would like to be treated.

Appearance: Whether you wear dress clothes or casual, make sure that your apparel is clean and neat. Take care of yourself. Have proper personal grooming habits, good hygiene, and a healthy diet. First impressions are lasting impressions. You are the temple of the living God.

Vehicle & Home: Take care of your car even if it’s old. Detail it inside and out. Follow through with the regular maintenance of it. Keep your home clean. Make your bed. Wash your dishes. Take out the trash. Keep the yard mowed and maintained. Fix broken items immediately.  If you’re faithful in the little things, God will make you ruler over much.

Stewardship of Borrowed Items: If you borrow something, return it in better condition. If you borrow a car, return it with more fuel. Never use offering envelopes to take notes on. Pay your bills and pledges. Excellence = Stewardship.

  1. Enemy of Excellence: Offense.

 

And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; 10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ. Philippians 1:9-10 KJV

The Bible tells us that Joseph did not get offended at his brothers when they mocked his dreams and threw him in a pit. Joseph did not get offended when he was wrongly accused and put into prison. Joseph had a spirit of excellence and would not yield to a spirit of offense. Joseph was promoted to the palace and was overseer of all of Egypt. The entire world, including his family, came to him to receive food during a global famine.

When you’re pressed and in a hard place, whatever is in your heart will come out. Having a spirit of excellence in the pit and in the prison took Joseph to the palace. This process took 13 years. Excellence is a journey; it’s not a one-time event.

Having a spirit of excellence does not make you proud or better than anyone else; it makes you humble and thankful. It’s a “heart thing” – not a hard thing!

  1. 6. A Spirit of Excellence in Your Relationship with the Lord.

 

Pray and study the Word. Talk to Him and praise Him! Don’t forsake the assembly of the brethren; come to church. If you hunger and thirst after righteousness, you shall be filled. There are nine fruit of the Spirit. A spirit of excellence is composed of the nine fruit of the Spirit.

But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all—love]. 1 Corinthians 12:31

A spirit of excellence is always love motivated; God is love.

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:37-39 KJV

If you have Christ, you have it in you to have a spirit of excellence.

 

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