Are we excelling in spiritual things? When we excel, we are exceptionally good at or proficient in an activity or subject. Are we shining in the area we are called to?
Apostle Paul is saying to the church in Corinth, “Just as you excel in everything–in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us–see that you also excel in this grace of giving.” (2 Corinthians 8: 7)
He tells them to finish the work. Jesus told us to “Arise and shine.” Aren’t they the same?
God looks at our willingness to give and work. “If the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” (2 Corinthians 8: 12)
- Our willingness is what’s revealed in our hearts, not the amount we give.
- A spirit of generosity is not in the amount, it’s in how we give it.
“Learn to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord, but also in the eyes of men.” (1 Corinthians 8: 21)
- Live to please God first, and you will win favor in the eyes of men.
If we live to please men first, we may get trapped and be hindered in our work for God. Trying to live to please God and man doesn’t work. Our interests can become divided, and our assignments missed.
(Shared from 2 Corinthians 8, Modified)
If only Nineveh would have excelled in listening to God. Nahum spoke, “An attacker advances against you, Nineveh. Guard the fortress, watch the road, brace yourselves, marshall of your strength!” (Nahum 2: 1)
The prophet wants them to see the devastation coming so they will repent and turn away from their idolatry. God always provides a time for us to turn away from our foolishness.
He sees, “The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob like the splendor of Israel. (Nahum 2: 2)
Implementing ways to excel in times of sorrow, worry and oppression are within us. Inside of us, as believers, we are overcomers.
- Excelling in spiritual things comes from who’s deep within. If we draw from Him, we can excel.
- If He’s not deep within, we can’t access the overcoming power to excel. We will tap into self, not Savior. (Shared from Nahum 2, Modified)
Excel in believing in God. Hezekiah becomes ill and the prophet Isaiah comes to him saying, “Put your house in order, because you are going to die; you will not recover.” (2 Kings 20: 2)
How about that for an encouraging word? Not!
Hezekiah is broken and weeps bitterly before the Lord. Wouldn’t you? As he is crying out, he tells God how he’s walked with Him in wholehearted devotion. He’s pleading his case to spare his life.
Well, guess what? God listened! He tells Isaiah to go back and tell Hezekiah, “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” (2 Kings 20: 4-5) He then informs him He will add fifteen years to his life.
Did Isaiah or God tell Hezekiah he would die? At first, I thought, maybe the prophetic word was wrong. Nope! Isaiah heard the Lord correctly the first time. Why? God tells Isaiah to go back and tell Hezekiah I’ve heard his prayer.
- Prayer changes things.
- This is why the enemy keeps us from praying.
- If we never pray, God doesn’t have an opportunity to change the outcome.
We know that God doesn’t need us to pray, but He uses us. He loves to co-labor with us, it teaches us unity.
Isaiah gives instructions to Hezekiah telling him to “Prepare a poultice of figs.” They did so and applied it to the boil and he recovered.” (2 Kings 20: 7)
- Learn to excel in applying God’s word to our situation.
God divinely healed Hezekiah. The footnote in the text says something interesting, that I never saw before, “Divine healing does not necessarily exclude the use of known remedies.” Wouldn’t that be healing, instead of divine healing?
- Whatever way God chooses to heal, it doesn’t matter.
Years later, Hezekiah dies and Manasseh, his son, becomes king of Judah. He rebuilt all the idol altars that his father had torn down. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and influenced the people to do the same. Our actions influence others.
- Excel in being a God, influencer.
- People need a model for Godly influence.
Eventually, Manasseh dies and his wicked son, Amon, becomes king of Judah now. His own cabinet despises him. His officers assassinate him while he was in the palace.
Now is the time to excel in the purposes and plans of God. Be the leader and influencer that God has called you to be. Show the power of the Lord God that is within you as a believer. Evil will always be present in this world, sin will abound; but having the realm of God’s peace and presence upon you will enable you to rise above it all, yes, to arise and shine.
Where is God calling you to? Where can you excel in being an influencer?
“Excel in gifts that build up the church.” (1 Corinthians 14: 12) God has given every believer spiritual gifts. Within you is that spirit of excellence. Within excellence is the ability to excel.
Don’t let the enemy talk you out of anything that God has called you to!
(Shared from 2 Corinthians 8; Modified)
UNBROKEN LOVE SERIES
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