In this article, we will look at what it takes to cultivate a spirit of excellence and what it fully means to have one. So, grab your Bible, and let’s dig in…
The Bible shows that it’s wise for Christians to pursue a spirit of excellence. People who operated in excellence were usually promoted in some way (as you will see later on in this article), while those who did not exhibit a spirit of excellence were never able to excel and sometimes were cast off. Even Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25 shows this. So, what does it mean to have a spirit of excellence as a Christian?
According to Daniel 6:3, a spirit of excellence manifests itself in such a way that no person should be able to find any fault or ground for complaint against a Christian. It means we are to do everything we do as if we are doing it unto the Lord, and this is impossible except through God’s grace.
The Bible sets some high standards for Christians. As if the law wasn’t hard enough to follow, Jesus raised that bar even higher with His sermon on the mount.
But if it seems impossible for you to have a spirit of excellence, don’t worry because all things are possible with God! Remember, Jesus used fishermen, tax collectors, and the supposed worst people in society.
What Is A Spirit Of Excellence?
The only reference to a spirit of excellence in those exact words in the Bible comes from Daniel 6:3-4 (emphasis added), which says:
“Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.”
We can see that the king promoted Daniel above all the other officials in the country because he manifested an excellent spirit. So, what is this spirit of excellence?
It is a spirit that lets a person operate in such a manner that causes people to find no fault or complaint against you because you are faithful in everything you do. It is being the best we can be, like Daniel, and more accurately, just like Jesus.
When we read through the book of Daniel for more context, we can see that he consistently exhibited certain things key characteristics of an excellent spirit. Here are some below:
Daniel’s Excellent Spirit
- Daniel had integrity. He never once pretended to be something he was not, even when his life was at risk.
- Daniel did everything he did, not for the people or the king but for the glory of God. His whole life speaks of glorifying God in everything he did. Even down to the food he ate! Because if he only wanted to please the king of Babylon, he would have obeyed the laws about prayer (Daniel 6:10-28). God was his first (or only) priority.
- Daniel was always honest. Even when he had to deliver bad news to king Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4:4-27, he did not lie. He showed his dismay at the dream’s interpretation, but he was honest with the king despite what he knew could happen.
- Daniel had strong principles, and he stood by them. In Daniel 1:12-16 we see how he challenged the guards and the leadership about eating only fruit, vegetables, and pulse. He did not move from that stance until they tested his statement like he challenged them to and found it true.
- Daniel was couregous. He had plenty of time he could have buckled under pressure or felt the need to people, please. But instead, he went against the grain and followed God’s truths and ways.
- Daniel was a man of prayer. It is said that he prayed three times a day. When it comes to prayer it is usually overlooked when we think of a spirit of excellence since it feels more passive. But it’s actually that fuel that drives us to be excellent.
Can A Christian Exhibit A Spirit Of Excellence?
The standards set by Daniel may seem impossible to uphold. Being so “perfect” and faithful that others can find no fault in you? That’s a very tall order. And yes, it is, but that doesn’t change the fact that God expects it of us. One way we can know that is from Philippians 4:8-9, which says:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, 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. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
God expects us to think about excellent things and to follow (and duplicate) leaders who exhibit excellence.
I also, want to clarify the idea of being perfect. In our western world mind-set to be perfect means to be without flaws. But in Jewish thought, it’s much deeper… It means to function as intended. An apple tree is considered perfect when it is producing apples. Even if not every single apple is flawless. The tree is functioning as intended it is a perfect apple tree. Keep this in mind as we learn more about a spirit of excellence.
Our Failures As Christians Are Holding Us Back
God sets a tall order, but He always has. As mentioned, the law of Moses set a standard so high that it’s regarded as impossible to follow perfectly. The sermon on the mount set that standard even higher by indicating that even considering a sin, we have already committed it. By hating someone, it’s as good as if we’ve murdered them in God’s eyes.
We might as well throw the towel in right?? I mean no MAN or WOMAN can be without faults and failures.
Simply put these standards are impossible for man to achieve.
But God made the impossible possible through His forgiveness, mercy, and grace, which covers all our sins, and failures, and by giving us His Holy Spirit to guide and teach us and to remind us of everything that Jesus taught (John 14:26).
God is able to move us up and forward in what He has for us. When we place our hand in His hand that’s when we see change happen. We become that apple tree that produces apples.
With this in mind, we have no excuse but to cultivate or develop excellence in everything we do. So, how do we do that?
How A Christian Can Cultivate A Spirit Of Excellence
Let’s start by stating that no law or rule book will give you a spirit of excellence. It’s not about fasting for 40 days or praying for three hours per day, or reading through the Bible once every year. Making time for God helps us develop a spirit of excellence, but it’s about the life-changing result of those actions, not the activities themselves.
Another way to look at it is that a life of walking in the Spirit results in us producing the fruit of the Spirit. And if we produce His fruit, we are walking in excellence.
Here are a few Biblical principles that can help us develop an excellent spirit:
- Do what God says you should do. This could be a Biblical instruction or a personal calling or revelation (as long as it doesn’t contradict scripture). But when God instructs you to do something, do it consistently, as Daniel did when he kept up his prayer despite the country’s laws. Obedience is unlocks us to experience the work of God in our lives.
- Do everything for God and His glory. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.” In everything you do, ask yourself if you would take this to God as your absolute best. This includes your spiritual life, ministry, career, relationships, time, and the things you do behind closed doors. Not an easy question to ask yourself but super eye-opening.
Look also at Colossians 3:17:
“And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Every word and act should be in the Name of Jesus and a word or act of thanksgiving to the Father.
- Have integrity and dignity. Titus 2:7-8 says, “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” This verse sounds precisely like Daniel 6.
We are to be so faithful in what we do, and do so much good with such integrity, that nobody would have anything negative to say about us, even if they try to accuse us. As Jesus also said in Matthew 5:37, we should let our “yes” be “yes,” and our “no,” “no.”
- Have faith. Everything Daniel and Jesus did showed that they had complete faith that God’s will determines the outcome, regardless of what the circumstances said.
Jesus did many things throughout His ministry that made people so angry they tried to kill Him. He knew that, but He did what He knew He had to regardless, knowing God’s plan would keep Him safe until the appointed time.
- Rely on God. This is a significant point that we should not ignore. As impossible as it might seem to follow all these things, remember Matthew 19:26, where Jesus says, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” In humility, always remember that it’s only possible to have an excellent spirit through God.
- Start with what you have, start from where you are, but just start. No matter where you currently find yourself in your spiritual walk or what you now have at hand. If you begin to do everything you do with a spirit of excellence, God will bless you and increase your authority. Study the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30. Use what little you have, and use it now.
Many business leaders have begun to use the concept of an excellent spirit in their training, and with great success. But in the end, having true excellence means following the One Who is genuinely excellent, Jesus Christ. A true spirit of excellence is supernatural and only can come from being with Christ. Let Him be the beginning and the perfecter of your quest to manifest a spirit of excellence in your life.
If you would like to leave a comment below, I would love to hear what God is doing in your life.
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…