Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. ~1 Thessalonians 4:1
Excellence is the highest standard of achievement and attainment. In the world of music, a virtuoso is such a musical expert that he is a standard of excellence. The best hospitals in medicine are referred to as “centers of excellence.” Corporations committed to providing the highest level of customer service are referred for their service excellence. Excellence is a mark. Excellence should also be a mission. Paul refers to the mission of excellence for every Christian.
There is the excellence of ambition.
“For this is the will of God….” The mission of excellence is that we do the will of God. Paul refers to the instruction he gave to the Thessalonians in how to walk and please God. “We walk by faith, not by sight.” Without faith, we cannot please God. We walk with God through a daily time in prayer and in His Word. We walk in love, even as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us. We walk in light as children of light. We walk circumspectly, as wise and not as fools. We are to walk in the Spirit and not fulfill the lust of the flesh. Our ambition should be to abound more and more in our walk and in pleasing God.
There is the excellence of abstinence.
“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication.” The excellence of abstinence is the pursuit of holiness. When Paul wrote this passage of Scripture, he was deeply concerned about the pressures of appetite, covetousness, lust, and moral temptation that every Christian faces. Our sanctification is conforming to the image of Christ. We live out abstinence by fleeing youthful lusts and fornication. The purity of a believer’s life is the secret to being a consistent overcomer. God does not allow us to be tempted above that which we are able to endure. Our part is to abstain; that is, to pull away from, avoid, and run far away from falling into this trap. In our culture, giving into our lusts might be considered “cool,” but it is not consecration.
There is the excellence of affection.
“But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” Loving one another is the command of God. In fact, Jesus called it a new commandment. Loving the brethren is how people know we are His disciples. Loving one another is fulfilling the “royal law.” Loving one another is to be unconditional and uninhibited. If we say that we love our brethren but, instead, have hatred in our hearts, we lie and do not the truth. We are commanded to “love one another with a pure heart fervently.” The excellence of affection is when we love one another.
There is the excellence of anticipation.
“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” We are to live in anticipation of the Lord’s coming for us. We are to look for His appearing: “looking for that blessed hope.” We are to love His appearing. We are to live for His appearing. His coming is imminent and could be at any time. He will come as a thief in the night and in the twinkling of an eye. Our very prayer should be, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” We have received how we should walk and please the Lord, that we may abound more and more. Our mission is excellence in Christ-like living.
Have an excellence-driven God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Nehemiah 4-6