Excellence, Part 1

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing a series of blogs that I hope will encourage you in your walk with Christ. Some of the winter sports athletes and I will be using a great book produced by Fellowship of Christian Athletes entitled Excellence to explore what the Bible says about living a Christ-centered life, doing everything we do with excellence. You may order this book at the FCA Gear Store.


“It may seem obvious how ‘excellence’ fits in the world of sports, but the truth is, true greatness is only achieved when bringing glory to God is the ultimate goal. Excellence is more than wins on game day – it is the result of honoring your commitments, valuing quality over quantity and going above and beyond . . . every single time. Excellence [the book] is a devotional that will help you learn how to raise your standards of performance and have an eternal perspective on your sport and your life. When you live, work and play with excellence, your win lasts forever.”  

Excellence for Christian athletes includes doing your best at every area of your life: athletic, personal, spiritual, more.
Read these verses and then answer the questions below.
Colossians 3:23-24 (HCSB)
23 Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, 24 knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ.
  • According to these verses, how should we do everything?
  • What does it mean to do a task on earth “as something done for the Lord and not for men”?
  • What does the Lord promise to those who do everything enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men?
  • In everything that we do, if Jesus is truly our Lord (boss, head coach, leader), who are we serving? How should this impact EVERYTHING that we do?
  • As athletes, what impact does Colossians 3:23-24 have on how you train and compete?
Philippians 1:27 (HCSB)
27 Just one thing: Live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ….
  • According to this verse, what one thing should be the focus of how you live your life?
  • What does it mean to “live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ”?
  • As athletes, what impact does Philippians 1:27 have on how you train, compete, and live every day of your life?
_________________
Bible scholar named Warren Wiersbe describes Philippians 1:27 this way in his Bible Exposition Commentary:
“The old English word conversation, of course, means walk and not talk.“Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ” (nasb). The most important weapon against the enemy is not a stirring sermon or a powerful book; it is the consistent life of believers.

“The verb Paul uses is related to our word politics. He is saying, “Behave the way citizens are supposed to behave.” My wife and I were visiting in London and one day decided to go to the zoo. We boarded the bus and sat back to enjoy the ride; but it was impossible to enjoy it because of the loud, coarse conversation of the passengers at the front of the bus. Unfortunately, they were Americans; and we could see the Britishers around us raising their eyebrows and shaking their heads, as though to say, “Oh, yes, they’re from America!” We were embarrassed, because we knew that these people did not really represent the best of American citizens.

“Paul is suggesting that we Christians are the citizens of heaven, and while we are on earth we ought to behave like heaven’s citizens. He brings this concept up again in Philippians 3:20. It would be a very meaningful expression to the people in Philippi because Philippi was a Roman colony, and its citizens were actually Roman citizens, protected by Roman law. The church of Jesus Christ is a colony of heaven on earth! And we ought to behave like the citizens of heaven.

“Am I conducting myself in a manner worthy of the Gospel?” is a good question for us to ask ourselves regularly. We should “walk … worthy of the calling” that we have in Christ (Eph. 4:1, nasb), which means walking “worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing” (Col. 1:10). We do not behave in order to go to heaven, as though we could be saved by our good works; but we’ behave because our names are already written in heaven, and our citizenship is in heaven.

“It is worth remembering that the world around us knows only the Gospel that it sees in our lives.

You are writing a Gospel,

A chapter each day,

By the deeds that you do

And the words that you say.

Men read what you write,

Whether faithful or true:

Just what is the Gospel

According to you?

(source unknown)

“The Gospel” is the Good News that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1 Cor. 15:1-8). There is only one “Good News” of salvation; any other gospel is false (Gal. 1:6-10). The message of the Gospel is the Good News that sinners can become the children of God through faith in Jesus Christ, God’s Son (John 3:16). To add anything to the Gospel is to deprive it of its power. We are not saved from our sins by faith in Christ plussomething else; we are saved by faith in Christ alone.

“We have some neighbors who believe a false gospel,” a church member told his pastor. “Do you have some literature I can give them?”

“The pastor opened his Bible to 2 Corinthians 3:2, “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men” (nasb). He said, “The best literature in the world is no substitute for your own life. Let them see Christ in your behavior and this will open up opportunities to share Christ’s Gospel with them.”

“The greatest weapon against the devil is a godly life. And a local church that practices the truth, that “behaves what it believes,” is going to defeat the enemy. This is the first essential for victory in this battle.”

–Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament – The Bible Exposition Commentary – New Testament, Volume 2.

________________
  • After you read Warren Wiersbe’s thoughts, what new insights do you have?
  • How will you apply the teaching of Colossians 3:23-24 and Philippians 1:27 to your life?
Here’s a simple prayer to the Lord:
“Lord, help me everyday to live my life for you. Help me to remember that I represent you at all times, and that you are always there to help me. Let me do everything with excellence, enthusiastically, as if you were right there as my coach. Help me to live my life in a way that others see that Jesus is working in my life, that they might be challenged to follow Christ as Lord and Savior. AMEN.”
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