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MARKED FOR EXCELLENCE

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Philippians 4:8

A Presentation by Rev. Andrew Shardow
at Nativity Junior-Y Teens Conference 2019

Saturday 5th January, 2019

INTRODUCTION

I believe the theme ‘Marked for excellence’ points to the state of having a clear evidence of the characteristics of excellence.

But these characteristics must be put in their proper place because everything in this world can bear a clear evidence of the characteristics of excellence. For example, Ebony, Rihanna etc. can be excellent in performing erotic songs with their vital body parts exposed.

So, we need to understand excellence in terms of holiness because the meaning of holiness agrees with excellence.

WHAT IS EXCELLENCE

Excellence is the purest or highest quality of a thing, and the most authentic source of this quality is God. That is why we must seek to understand excellence in terms of holiness.

Biblical Basis for Excellence

One of God’s clearest intentions for making us was to multiply excellence on earth. This is why God created us in His own image and likeness. So, the original quality of human life was excellence.

According to Genesis 2:25, Adam and Eve, before the fall, were both naked and not ashamed. I remember ministering in an All-Night service last year when suddenly a totally naked young man entered the church and people hastily run to cover him up. Why?

Adam and Eve before the fall were naked and not ashamed because the original quality of human life was yet not defiled. That was the clear evidence of excellence, but the development of life deviated from this excellence when sin took over and diluted excellence. Then over time, Christ came to restore this quality of life through His death and Resurrection. So, to be marked for excellence, we must be firmly grounded in the fact that God made us for excellence.

1 Peter 1:13-16

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

ACTIVATING EXCELLENCE

Due to the original quality in which God made us, we have the ability to receive and show a clear evidence of the characteristics of excellence.  

It’s like the Computer; until you install the Operating System (OS) and application software, the computer is useless. Similarly, the installation of the OS and application software is Philippians 4:8

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

As teens, what do we think about?

School, football, clothes, shoes, friendships, telenovelas, gossips etc.

That is normal because it comes with the age, but those who are marked for excellence speak a more advanced language. The basis of excellence shows that God has already made us for excellence. However, we need to activate this excellence by feeding it.

Paul in Philippians 4:8 outlines eight (8) important virtues:

  • Whatever is true
  • Whatever is honorable
  • Whatever is just
  • Whatever is pure
  • Whatever is lovely
  • Whatever is commendable
  • Anything excellent
  • Anything worthy of praise

Think about these things

These eight virtues are ingredients that work together to bring forth excellence. Those who are marked for excellence build up their lives upon the foundation of truth, honour, purity, love, good deeds etc.

This is made possible by literally taking these virtues into the mouth, dwelling on them, saturating the spirit man with them to nurture the inner life so that the outer life reflects it.

How do we define such virtues for ourselves?

  1. By our original quality
  2. By sincere humility to the Word of God

There are people who turn the truth of God into a lie because they have rejected God. Such should never be mentioned among us.

Applying Excellence

  1. Heed to instruction
  2. Be diligent
  3. Dare to be different – Daniel 1
  4. Fear the Lord

MARKED FOR EXCELLENCE

Excellence can never be hidden. Austria on December 12, 2018, made history by electing the world’s youngest president, who is 31 years old. His name is Sebastian Kurz. Before those elections, he was the country’s foreign minister.

If God makes you for excellence, nothing can stop you from achieving excellence.

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