Excel. Still. More. These three words have been bouncing around my head for a couple weeks now. These words came to me through the urging of Paul, which is ultimately through the Holy Spirit-inspired-Word of God.
These words are found here:
“Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1 (emphasis mine)
Then, it’s found again, just a few verses later, here:
“Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more”
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 (emphasis mine)
Let’s look a bit at some basic background:
-Paul had been with the Thessalonians to share the rescue plan of Jesus with them, and they awesomely decided to become disciples of Jesus!
-Paul was only with them a short time (several weeks) before he was driven out.
-Since they were new Christians, new disciples, they were like his “babies”, and he was not ready to leave them after such a short time of being with them.
-Paul was in Corinth and was longing to get back to the Thessalonians.
-Timothy had been with them to check in on them to see how they were doing, and Timothy was able to bring back an encouraging report to Paul! Paul’s work there had not been in vain, his short-lived discipleship had taken root, and the Good News of Jesus was spreading!
-It was as a result of this report, that Paul wrote the Thessalonians encouraging them & fine-tuning some principles, which became the book of First Thessalonians.
The Christians of Thessalonica were doing a good job, but Paul encouraged them, challenged them, to excel still more.
We had a planning meeting for the children’s department of our church last night. Want to know what the meeting was about?
You guessed it….how can we excel still more?
We took the items/events/things we have done in the past and evaluated how we can do more. Love more. Disciple more. Excel still more.
Since these 3 words have been bouncing around my head the past few weeks, I’ve been evaluating my life. My daily walk. The way (or lack of the way) that I love others. Man, let me tell you, there’s plenty of room for me to excel still more.
So, that’s what God has laid on my heart recently, and I wanted to share it with you all to encourage us all to excel still more at how we ought to “walk and please God” and loving others the way God loves.
I imagine that someone has come to visit me to see how I was doing on my walk with Christ. What kind of report could he/she bring back? Would my mentor be encouraged by the report, as Paul was? Or, would the report be discouraging? If so, what things could I be doing to excel still more?
Know this…if there are areas where you and I could improve (and let me tell you, I believe that as forgiven sinners, there is ALWAYS room for improvement), the Holy Spirit will be there guiding us on how we are to excel still more to bring honor, to bring glory to our Risen Savior, our Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ!!!
What are we waiting for? Let’s get out there and excel still more!