Would you say that you are living life wholeheartedly or somewhat divided? When you think about serving God, are you settling for doing things that are just good enough or are you committed to excellence-to doing things the right way?
God doesn't do things halfway. He goes all out! When God does something it's not just barely enough, mediocre or lukewarm. He is fully committed to you and fully committed to advancing His Kingdom with excellence.
When I think of an example of excellence in the Bible, I think of Daniel. Daniel was an excellent man. He was able to remain in the service of several kings because he was determined to do things the right way. In Daniel 1:8, we see the first instance of him standing up for what he believes in. In this verse, he shows us that he is determined to doing something the right way.
But Daniel determined in his heart that he would not defile himself by [eating his portion of] the king's rich and dainty food or by [drinking] the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might [be allowed] not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8 The Amplified Bible).
Daniel and some other young men had been taken into the king's court to be trained to serve and wait on the king. As a part of that training, the king's men selected a special diet of rich food and wine they wanted the young men to eat and drink. But Daniel had already made a commitment to God concerning the things he would and wouldn't eat.
Daniel didn't even consider doing the easy thing and going along with the king's diet. He was determined that he would not defile himself by eating those things and breaking the commitment he made to God. Daniel achieved excellence in his life by living intentionally-on purpose. He lived a determined life.
Daniel shows us the way to live with excellence. But why don't we see more people living like that today? The reason is because people today, by and large, are too committed to their own comfort than to doing things the right way. Their comfort factor dictates that they do things the easy way instead of the excellent way.
Let's take another look at that verse in Daniel. It says that Daniel was determined in his heart. In a place deep down inside of him, he made the commitment to follow God's way and not his own way. I think our problem is that we fail to live out of our heart and we choose the shallow, easy way. We live out of our soul.
Your soul is your mind, your will and your emotions. Your mind tells you what you think, your emotions tell you how you feel, and your will tells you what you want. None of those things tell you about what God wants in your life.
The problem is that when we say we will do something, we may actually feel like we're making a strong commitment, but in the end, we let our soul get the final vote. We say, "I know I said I'd do that but I don't think, or I don't feel, or I don't want to do that now." That's shallow living, not living from the deep place in your heart.
For the last twenty-two or twenty-three years, I've been teaching at conferences all over the world. Believe me, there are lots of times when I don't feel like traveling to another city and getting up in front of a group of people and teaching. But I don't teach because I feel like it. I teach because I'm committed to the call of God on my life. I travel to conferences because I've made a commitment to be there and I'm determined to follow through.
We need to live deeply and do the right thing. We need to go beyond our own comfort zone and ask ourselves, "What did I commit to do? What is my duty here? What is my responsibility?"
When you start living a determined life, with excellence, you will do the right thing based on the commitments you've made-not your own comfort level. That's when you'll really begin to grow into the person God created you to be.