The Spirit of Excellence Work Ethic
When studying the passage about what the virtuous wife does, it was clear that everything she has control over, she’s intentionally trying to achieve excellence in. Obviously that is extremely hard to achieve, and I don’t think it happens overnight or even necessarily when one is just starting out in a marriage. It takes work. It takes brutal honesty about where we are in that struggle for achieving more discipline or excellence in the work we’re doing. I don’t think we should feel intimidated by it, but instead inspired to do better in things we’re honestly failing in.
And if you’re a mom, your most important work right now is being an excellent wife to your husband and mother to your kids. We have so much power over the lives of our children! I was recently listening to a 6-sermon series by Doug Fields on that very topic of how important it is to make sure we’re being *good* mothers to our kids. I’ll probably write more on that in other posts.
It’s just important to note that developing an attitude toward your life that inspires you to try to achieve excellence in all you do, is biblical and not to be dismissed as simply being some kind of Super Mom.
And it’s not about a suffocating existence of constantly striving.
It truly is a fine balance. Striving, I believe, comes from the desire for perfection and perfectionism, even pride. Whereas having a spirit of excellence is a totally different attitude! When you intimately understand that you are NOT your own, that your body is God’s Temple, that you are only a STEWARD over the body and talents and gifts and money God has given you, then your work ethic is correctly lined up with wanting to please God – who is your Boss, since EVERYTHING you own or have control over, belongs to Him and you’re just the steward. It comes from humility, but that doesn’t mean fighting off pride isn’t sometimes still a battle.
When you have this mindset of developing a spirit of excellence, everything about you changes. You want to please God, your perfect Boss who loves you beyond imagination! Whereas striving for perfection is about either pleasing other people or wanting to look good in their eyes – neither of which is a virtuous goal.
With developing a spirit of excellence, you WANT to make the best choices that will give Him back the best RETURN of His INVESTMENT in you as a person. While striving is all about the desire to control, having a spirit of excellence toward what God’s given you is manifested in relinquishing control over your life and offering it up to Him – and making sure it is an excellent offering!
The Bible tells us that in everything we do, to do it as though we were working for God.
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
A Spirit of Excellence Effects All of You –
We have a white board in our kitchen/dining area (it’s all kind of one space lol) and it’s convenient for teaching lessons or writing Scripture for the week to memorize, or even for him to practice sentence writing and spelling words. It’s been a GREAT investment… just one little white board 🙂
I wrote the title Spirit of Excellence at the top, with the basic definition and words that were synonymous with it. We talked about what excellence then meant – in a broad, general kind of way.
Then I drew 3 small circles and wrote over each one:
BODY –> MIND –> GOD
(Increasing in difficult)
It’s the physical element of yourself, your mental and emotional health, and then also your spiritual standing with God since we’re a Christian family. In my opinion, it increases in difficulty when you view it in this order. Your body can be difficult to master, but at least it’s physically right there with you – you can touch it, look at it, and more easily understand what may need to change to make it a pillar of excellence.
Your mind working as it should is a lot harder to see clearly – to understand if you are seeing clearly, since everything you view is filtered through it, for good and bad. It’s basically your mental health and mental abilities (learning, relating, communicating or processing through problems), which for probably more people than we’d like to think, it’s a little harder to have excellence over something you can’t see, touch, and don’t know if you’re “feeling” through a faulty filter.
And the last principle of excellence was GOD. This is the hardest for mankind to sort out in general, hence why having a strong relationship with God is becoming a fairly rare thing in the world. It means you have to be open to rebuke and discipline, that you have to be willing to be convicted when you’ve done something wrong or harmed someone else. When you’re reporting to God everyday, you are held to the highest standard of conduct and responsibility for your choices, because you are His ambassador, His steward over your talents and gifts. All that takes humility, in fact having a relationship with God at all, takes immense amounts of humility because you have to allow Him to mold you and change you overtime, and to let go of sinful things that are holding you back (but that you like!).
The amazing thing is that if you “master” this principle in gaining a good relationship with God where He is Lord over all of your life, the other principles of your body and mind tend to fall in place as well.
Flow when mastered:
GOD –> MIND –> BODY
First your mind, since you are allowing God to direct your steps, your mind is the first place He will go to make the necessary convictions and changes. Then lastly it’s your body, because if you aren’t taking care of it as you should be, eventually you will start feeling ashamed (in your mind!) of laziness or the lack of discipline in that area of your life (when everything else is becoming more and more disciplined and orderly and beautiful), and your body will follow through with being healthily disciplined with working out and eating healthy.
Developing a spirit of excellence in all these things means you will probably stand out more than people around you, like Daniel and his friends did, or how Joseph or Esther or Ruth did. Unless you specifically search out the people who are also pursuing excellence in everything as well, which is necessary to continued growth.
You can’t do this alone very well, we all need accountability and fellowship with like-minded believers who will hold you accountable to living with a spirit of excellence. What better way than to surround yourself with people who are also trying to foster a spirit of excellence in their lives as well?
Our children need to be watching their parents living out having a spirit of excellence, and as their mom, what better way than to study the Scriptures, and in particular, the Proverbs 31 woman?