We are taught to strive for excellence all our lives. In school, in sports or hobbies, in work, in our relationships, we are given the message that we should always strive for excellence.
Does that carry over into our spiritual life? Do we strive for excellence in our worship - or are we content to let these spiritual things slide? What about in our personal time alone with God, and our personal Bible study? What about our faithfulness to attend in church and Sunday school? What about the other spiritual disciplines – like prayer, tithing, fasting, giving alms?
Far too often our quest for excellence falls away in our spiritual lives, and we are content to just get by. That should not be. Our Heavenly Father deserves our excellence, because He is excellence, and He love us with an everlasting love.
But here’s a question we need to ask ourselves: Do we somehow equate the level of God’s love to our level of excellence? In other words, do we ever feel like the better we perform, the more God loves us and will bless us? Like the more we do for Him, the more He will do for us? Do we ever feel that somehow we’ve earned His love, and are somehow entitled to His blessings?
We have to be very careful not to fall into that kind of thinking. That kind of thinking forms a doctrine of legalism and works: a mindset that thinks we HAVE to do certain things to make God bless us, and that if we do certain things the right way, then He is obligated to repay us
by doing things we want Him to do. If we aren't careful, our striving for excellence can make us feel like we’re entitled to God’s blessings, as if we’ve earned them with our actions.
Here is the simple truth: There is not a thing we can ever do to make God love us one bit more. Our excellence does nothing to gain His love – He has already proved His love to us, even while we were still dead in our sins. God has already blessed us, beginning with the greatest blessing of all: the blessing of forgiveness of or sin and the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. He has already blessed us with the presence of the Holy Spirit within us. He has already blessed us by making a way for us to come directly before His throne, and bring Him all our cares and burdens. If He were never to do another single thing for us in this world, He has already blessed us with the promise of eternal life when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior.
The fact is – God’s love and His blessings have nothing to do with our excellence, but everything to do with HIS! Should we strive for excellence in our spiritual lives? Of course we should! But we should do it with humble hearts filled with gratitude and love. Make no mistake about it, our actions do not determine the depths of God’s love for us. We don’t have to earn His love, and we certainly do not deserve it. We should strive for excellence because of God's excellence!