The Apostle Paul believed in excellence to the point of admonishing the Philippians to only think about “virtuous or excellent things” (Philippians 4:8). I have no doubt that Paul would agree that when it comes to our lives, we either choose the pain of self-discipline, which comes from a commitment to personal sacrifice and growth, or we choose the pain of regret, which usually comes by taking the easy road and refusing to fully embrace the opportunities given to us.
Excellence is seldom attained without wholehearted commitment. Many in this day do not fully understand the difference between interest and commitment. (Remember the Yale graduate students I mentioned a few weeks ago?) If we are only interested in something, we give it our full attention only when and if it is convenient. Convenience is the enemy of excellence. Why? Because, when we are really committed to something, we accept no excuses from ourselves or from those who have chosen to be involved in our endeavors.
Commitment is the first step beyond convenience. It prepares and enables a person to become effective. Effectiveness can only be maintained through excellence.
Commitment is the first price that must be paid. Why?
- Everything worth having costs something.
- The better the desired result, the higher the price.
- Commitment then is determined by the price we are willing to pay.
People who are committed to excellence are willing to pay the “high price” because:
- They have dedicated themselves to stay optimistic and enthusiastic.
- They refuse to settle for average or mediocre.
- They pay attention to the details.
- They work hard to perform with consistency.
Finally, those who make excellence a part of who they are:
- Stay committed to the long haul.
- Are willing to travel the road alone, if attaining their goal requires it.
- Able to keep their eyes focused on the prize.
We conquer our past by focusing on our future. Therefore, stop thinking about your past and start focusing on the possibilities only found in your future. For God never consults your past to determine your future. Therefore, don’t let people hang around you if they not believe in your future. Always move toward people who are as committed to excellence and away from those who only are committed when it is convenient.
Philippians 3:13-15 says, But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.
And Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.”