A Spirit of Excellence or Spirit of Expectation?

excellenceThe Walls Group is getting some righteously deserving air time for a song entitled, “Perfect People.”  It beautifully unfolds the image of elements of a seemingly perfect life exhibited through daily living and reminds the listener that “this song is not for you.” As the tempo slows, it beckons the listener that if trials and tribulations have consumed one’s life, yet God still makes a way and that even basic necessities are being met in your life, “this song is for you.”  (I’m condensing the song, so please check it out, the link is at the end of the post).  The line that continues to rise to my attention is, “If you’re a miracle today, and God has always made a way.”  I have that line on repeat.  Indeed, God has always made a way!  But I wonder what happens when our belief that indeed God has always made a way is clouded.  What happens when as believers we replace having a spirit of excellence with a spirit of expectation?

There are numerous verses in the Bible about expectation.  One that receives top billing is Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Flip your pages  to Jeremiah 33:3 for another point of reference: “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”   There are other inferred references to expectation as believers, like trials, tribulations, grace, mercy, love, forgiveness an punishment.  An expectation is simply a strong belief that something will happen.  Jesus expected to die on the cross for the sin of the world, nevertheless he operated in the spirit of excellence until the time of his death.  What do I mean? I’m glad you asked.

Jesus prepared to go to the cross.  He didn’t just wake up and say, “I think I will suffer a horrific death for the sin of humanity.”  And even though he knew his purpose for being on earth, and he knew the pain and rejection he would endure not only from mankind, his closest allies on earth and his Father in heaven, he still understood the vastness and symbolism of his death and was obedient to it.  Even after his death, burial and resurrection, he showed himself and continued operating in a spirit of excellence for 40 days until his ascend into heaven.  So what confusion do we often exhibit?

As believers we often fail to prepare for the task before us.  And as a result of our failure to prepare, we expect God to show up and bless it, perfect it, and add a seal of excellence on it.  Think about it.  Indeed we are to have faith; and believe in miracles; and believe that God never changes and doesn’t have respect of persons; and that we can do all things through Christ; and that we are more than conquerors.  The expectations are endless.  Yet we must stop to ask, what does God expect of us? I believe every reference shared.  However, I also believe that if God gave his only son who was without sin to die on my account, I need to do better in my expectation of him to show up in what I haven’t excellently executed.  Its as if the Holy Spirit that was left on the day of Pentacost is on retainer to show up for every believer through every shortcoming that we project.  We gather on one accord, in one place, but if we’ve made no preparation to be excellent, then we are selling ourselves short.  More importantly, we are taking advantage of grace afforded to us.

Working in the field of education I witness the trend of expecting a miracle at the end of the semester when little preparation for a final exam has been exhibited.  However, I also witness the trend in our spaces of worship for Sunday service, and perhaps more importantly, in our lives as believers.  As likened unto the donkey in Matthew 21:3: “The Lord has need of us.”  He has need of us to operate in the gifts he has blessed us with.  He has need of us to comfort others, to provide encouragement, to be kind, to share, to provide wise counsel, to proclaim his goodness, to love, to forgive and to bring those who are lost to him through our testimony.  The Lord has need of us to operate in the spirit of excellence and not in the spirit of expectation of him to do what he has instructed us to do.

Jesus fulfilled expectation with excellence.  He went to the cross as predicted in the old testament (Zechariah 9:9; Psalm 22:16-18).  But not only did he go to the cross, but he did so with excellence.  Further the excellence was enhanced after his resurrection.  Not only did he show himself, but he further prepared the disciples for telling the world about Christ and building the church.

In my prayer time, I am asking God to reveal to me how I might operate greater in the spirit of excellence.  Imagine what might happen if we all do this.  If you are doing this already, then as the Walls Group said, “this song is not for you.” But if there are any parts of your life, that you fall short, and pray with expectation for God to restore, revitalize, renew, reclaim and reignite, consider your preparation in relation to it.  Are you expecting without excelling? If so, its not too late to make a change.  Resurrection is a reminder that dead things can live again.  Join me in the identification of those areas of our life that expectation trumps excellence.  Let’s get on one accord, in one place and see what happens next.

Check out Perfect People by the Walls Group:

 

 

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