" ... so that you may approve the things that are excellent" (Phil. 1:10).
In a world of mediocrity and confusion, God calls you to excellence and discernment
There's a story of a pilot who came on the loudspeaker mid flight and said, "I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is, we've lost all our instrumentation and don't know where we are. The good news is, we have a strong tailwind and are making great time." That's an accurate picture of how many people live: they have no direction in life, but they're getting there fast!
We as Christians are to be different because we have divine guidance and eternal goals. Our lives are to be marked by a confident trust in God and a pursuit of spiritual excellence.
"Excellent" in Philippians 1:10 speaks of things that are worthwhile and vital. "Approv[ing]" what is "excellent" refers to testing things as one would test a precious metal to determine its purity and value. It goes beyond knowing good from evil. It distinguishes between better and best. It involves thinking Biblically and focusing your time and energy on what really counts. It involves cultivating spiritual discipline and not being controlled by your emotions, whims, moods, or circumstances.
Many organizations and businesses have rightly adopted the motto "Commitment to Excellence" to convey their desire to provide the finest product or service possible. If secular-minded people strive for that level of achievement, how much more should Christians pursue excellence for the glory of God!
Look at your life. Is it filled with godly love, discernment, and the pursuit of excellence - or has worldly trivia crowded out those virtues?
Suggestion for Prayer: Read Isaiah 12:1-6 as a psalm of praise to the God of excellence. Ask God to give you a heart constantly set on pursuing excellence for His glory.
For Further Study: Daniel was a man who pursued excellence. Read Daniel 1:1, 2:23. What was Daniel's decision regarding the king's food and wine, and how did he handle the situation? How did Daniel and his three friends compare in wisdom and understanding to the magicians and conjurers? What principles do you see in those two chapters that apply to your life?