God designed for everyone and everything to get better and better. Improving is the name of his game. Sin brought decline into the world. It is up to us to make the effort to move forward in our lives and become all he has made us to be in Christ.
Philippians tells us to “press toward the goal” and “to run to take hold of the prize.” In Hebrews the writer tells us to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” There are many other verses encouraging us to continually move forward.
The flesh wants to sit back and be happy with where it is at. It doesn’t want to rock the boat or do anything that would bring improvement into our lives. It’s our job to makeadvancements necessary to bring about change.
Where do we begin? As Christians we start with knowing it is God’s will for us to improve. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says we are going from “glory to glory and faith to faith.” The Message states,
2Cor. 3:18 All of us! Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of his face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like him. MSG Bible
We don’t excel for ourselves. We improve for the sake of others, especially the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 14:12 tells us “let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel.” NKJV
Self-improvement isn’t about self. It’s about others. As we improve, we are able to help more people. Any time we let anything go or get in a bad state, it limits our ability to help others.
Prov. 22:29 Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; He will not stand before unknown men. NKJV
I like how the Message Bible puts it:
Prov. 22:29 Observe people who are good at their work— skilled workers are always in demand and admired; they don’t take a back seat to anyone. MSG
To excel means stand out, be the best, top, exceed, better, eclipse, outshine
How will you be the best you that you can be? Being the best doesn’t mean competing with or comparing yourself to others.
It’s about competing with yourself out of your relationship with God. Choose to be better because you are going from glory to glory and faith to faith and you represent the creator of the universe.
Philippians 4-9 gives us an idea of how to excel.
The Message Bible states:
Celebrate God all day, every day. I mean, revel in him! Make it as clear as you can to all you meet that you’re on their side, working with them and not against them. Help them see that the Master is about to arrive. He could show up any minute! Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life. Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. MSG
1. Rejoice in the Lord. Celebrate him. Phil. 4:4
2. Be considerate, kind and unselfish. Phil. 4:5
3. Don’t worry. Worry steals God’s word. It chokes it. Phil. 4:6-7
4. Pray and thank God, then his peace settles in. Phil. 4:7
5. Think on good things. Start by thinking good things about yourself. Remember that later on in this chapter Paul tells us that we can do all things through Christ. It’s only as we meditate on who we are in Christ that we are able to excel. The negative thoughts about ourselves cause us to freeze and retreat. Phil. 4:8
6. Act on who you are in Christ and on what God has shown you. Phil. 4:9
I hope this encourages you to find an area in your life to improve in. Always keep moving forward. It’s God’s will in Christ for you. If you’d like more, go to my Facebook page to hear the entire teaching.