It’s an intriguing word, one that I, personally, never associate with Christianity, nor my walk with God.
Humility, grace, mercy, love, patience, Fatherhood — these words roll gently off the tongue and into the heart, inspiring me daily to seek the good gifts from my Eldest Brother’s hands. Like all humans, I long for, ache for, yearn to experience unconditional love and acceptance. I desire confidence in the presence of my God that I mean something to Him, and that He embraces me into His household as His dearly beloved daughter.
Learning that this is so — well, that is good news indeed.
Simple, basic words — like love, acceptance, friendship — are akin to a good soup, nourishing and uncomplicated, delicious in their simplicity, healing in their warmth.
Unfortunately, however, within contemporary Christianity, simple words, like the profound, but deeply simple, concepts that they describe, are readily exchanged for the frigid, emotionless, coldly practical terms networked about in the corporate business environment: intentionality, excellence, ownership, community, purpose, drive, even passion seems passionless in the way it is used: “I pursue, with excellence, the passionate intention to glorify God’s power and might within the vibrant community of his purposeful people!”
Whatever that means.
The words themselves are meaningless, distant from human emotion or content, but we use them because they sound forceful and bold, the way a successful CEO would sound. And given that the average successful CEO is that way not because he, or in fewer cases, she, is kind, thoughtful, warm, caring, funny, endearing, merciful, just, and loving, it’s odd that we would choose to mimic the same language within an environment — church culture — that is supposed to embrace those nine aforementioned qualities.
God is love, not intention; He seeks a meaningful relationship with His children, not purposeful interaction; He teaches us to be humble, not excellent.
But in our fascination for corporate culture, and our willingness to embrace not only its terminology, but its belief system, into our place of worship, we abandon the true excellence of God — His love for us, His majestic power, His unending grace, His very own humility shown in the person of His Son — and pressure ourselves to achieve an excellence of our own.
We are to be excellent in our prayer life, which, I guess, means that we get pretty much everything we ask for — that’s success, isn’t it?
And speaking of success, we are to be excellent in our financial affairs because, when God is pleased with someone He blesses them, and the outward manifestation of that approval, indeed, is that we are wealthy. It’s too bad about all those millions of starving people. They really should get to know God.
We are to be excellent in how we speak, how we dress, how we come across to others — poised, confident, strong, immovable. Our excellence is to be of such a degree that all those around us stop, in awe, and breathe, “That person. He is so excellent.”
“For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgement of God rather than burnt offerings,” God says in Hosea 6:6.
It is not what we do, but who we are that matters before God. And when we are proud, and put together, and forceful, dogmatic, overbearing and self-assured — convinced of our excellence — then we are in very real danger of walking away from the better person whom God is constantly trying to shape us to be: humble, meek, dependent upon our Father and listening to Him, eager to walk beside Him and simply bask in the beauty of His presence.
We are not doormats — we are children of God: confident in His love, trusting in His faithfulness, and delighting in His — God’s — excellence.
This post is linked to Woman to Woman, Wholehearted Home, Intention, Embracing, I Choose Joy, Imparting Grace, Soul Survival, Mom to Mom, Tell It Thursday, Hearts for Home, Give Me Grace, Shine, A Little R and R, Growing in Grace, A Little Bird, Homemaking, Wise Woman, Time Warp Wife, Titus Tuesdays, Simple Life, Moms the Word, Simple Moments, Look at the Book, Missional Woman, Christian Mom Blogger, Rebecca, Arabah, Create with Joy, Misadventures, Fellowship Friday