WAS JESUS EXCELLENT?
An important focus for many within the modern day Body of Christ is around the concept of being “excellent”. In fact, for us (C3), “excellence” is one of the six official values that we set to guide our efforts to foster unity. I personally find myself regularly asking the Lord for His perspective on being “excellent” with each situation I encounter, both personally and professionally: Lord, what does excellence look like to you in this particular matter?
Excellent [ek-suh-luh nt] : adj. 1. very good of its kind. Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
If each of us who have a relationship with Jesus Christ were asked the question “was Jesus excellent?” (referring to His life and ministry on earth in the flesh), it is likely that most of us would say yes, He was excellent. My answer would also be yes as I believe Jesus lived His life and walked out His ministry with excellence. That is to say that He was “very good of His kind”.
But why? What was it about the way He lived that made Him “very good of His kind”?
Jesus once asked a young rich ruler “why do you call me good, there is no one good but God” after being addressed by the man as “good teacher” (Matthew 19:17). In a manner of speaking, it was the God-ness of our Savior that made His Goodness. He was by nature (and supernaturally) good by the “kind” that He was, as God made manifest.
When we think of being excellent we tend to think of performance; and certainly how well we perform has an impact on the results we experience. Even more, performance levels serve to determine the value we elicit. In every way performance plays into the equation of excellence. In some cases the words are even interchangeable.
Performance [per-fawr-muh ns]: noun 7. the manner in which or the efficiency with which something reacts or fulfills its intended purpose. Dictionary.com.
For the first 12 years of my relationship with God, the emphasis of my life in Christ was focused on what you could call “religious” performance. Whether it was about reading/memorizing more scripture, spending more time in prayer, or how well I managed my interactions with others, it was a matter of my personal effort. But then, during a season of deep transition, I perceived the Lord highlighting the following verse of scripture to me over and over again…
He who says he abides in Him ought Himself also to walk just the way he walked.
– 1 John 2:6
In that season of transition, it was like this verse pursued me for months. What first stood out is the word “abides.” I had invested years prior to that point seeking to understand and live out an “abiding” lifestyle. Chapters like John 14 and 15 were foundational in my pursuit to abide. During those days, it was on a walk with the Lord early one morning that I perceived a key to abiding that I hadn’t recognized before…
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in Me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells (abides) in Me does the works. – John 14:10
Talk about performance. If God was actually the one “performing” the works, how excellent could that be? I don’t imagine it could be any more excellent. The more I pondered the Truth of the functionality of Jesus and His Father in that level of collaboration, the clearer it became to me that all the works of God were created beforehand that we (as with Jesus) were to walk in them…
For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10
TALK THE TALK, WALK THE WALK
Jesus was actually the Word of God made manifest on the earth (John 1). So when He walked out His days of ministry, He was actually the walking Word of God. He walked into the words and works that had been pre-established for Him. This, I believe, is a key understanding how to walk in the Excellence of Christ. A key to daily living from the Rest the Lord has promised us that, itself, fulfills the Works prepared for us (see Hebrews 3 & 4). This, I believe, is living in “excellence.”
Remember the definition of “excellent” is “very good of its kind”? If in truth, we are of His kind, the way to be “very good” is to walk out the life we have been given as Jesus walked out His…by speaking words of the Father’s authority and letting Him do the works.
This is the ultimate expression of phrase “Walk the Talk.” Let us now learn the abiding nature of Christ in all our work, that His works may fulfill His purposes in, through and around us. To God be the Glory.