Did you attend a high school, college, or university graduation recently? If it was a high school graduation, you probably heard a speech from the class valedictorian—the most outstanding member of the class. The second highest-ranking student, the salutatorian, may also have spoken.
If you attended a college, university, or graduate school graduation, you probably heard certain students being labeled with funny-sounding Latin words when they received their diploma: cum laude (with distinction), magna cum laude (with great distinction), or summa cum laude (with highest distinction). These designations bestow deserved honor on students who achieved outstanding academic records during their years of education.
It is part of human nature to do two things: strive for excellence and acknowledge those who achieve it. The trophy and awards industry has never seen better days. Companies, teams, and schools are constantly handing out hardware to acknowledge standout performances in every realm of life. And rightfully so! Proficiency and excellence deserve to be recognized.
If you have been recognized for excellence one or more times in your life, those moments are forever ingrained in your memory. They celebrate moments, memories, and milestones that don’t happen every day.
And the same is true in our spiritual life. All of us have many standout moments in our life that will never be recognized with a trophy or award. But they are standout moments, nonetheless, related to love, accomplishment, kindness, forgiveness, life-change, hard lessons, insights, education, family, and more. We treasure those moments in our life! In fact, we relive them frequently in our memories because they bring us joy, comfort, and encouragement about the future.
Here is what I have discovered about the standout moments in my life: Almost without exception, the important moments in my life have been, directly or indirectly, related to my life in God. Why? Because there is nothing in my life of consequence that has happened apart from the grace of God through Jesus Christ.
Many years ago, I began the discipline of recording those standout moments with God in journal form—and if you have been reading or listening to my thoughts over the years, you know I’ve encouraged others to take up the practice. Re-reading those journals on occasion reminds me of times I made strong decisions for Christ, times when God was the only light I could see at the end of a long, dark tunnel, and times when God answered a prayer that kept me on my knees for extended periods.
Those are standout moments in my life—and I know you have those moments in your life, too. But here are the questions to consider: Are we living a standout life for Christ? That is, are we living our life wholly in God so we can continue to create memories, milestones, and meaningful moments with Him? Are we recording those standout moments in some way? Are we rehearsing them on a regular basis as a reminder of God’s faithfulness and an encouragement to go deeper with Him in the future?
Do you know what happens if we fail to curate previous standout moments and cultivate new ones? We forget them!
Listen to God’s rebuke to the people of Judah through the prophet Jeremiah: “Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number” (Jeremiah 2:32).
Israel’s maidens remembered their jewelry and wedding attire because those items represented a standout moment in their lives—again, rightfully so! But the nation was forgetting the standout moments—the most important moments—of their lives related to God. Throughout the Old Testament, Israel was exhorted to remember, remember, remember what God had done for them (Deuteronomy 7:18; 8:18). Only by remembering would they keep themselves prepared to trust God in the future and create even more standout moments with Him.
So my challenge to every follower of Christ is to remember your standout moments with God. Then let those memories motivate you toward living a standout life for God. Why shouldn’t each of us live a summa cum laude life for Christ? When it comes to the Judgment Seat of Christ, we want to receive rewards consistent with a life of committed faithfulness to Christ and His Kingdom. Let today be a standout day for God!
Dr. David Jeremiah is among the best known Christian leaders in the world. He serves as senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California and is the founder and host of Turning Point. Turning Point‘s 30-minute radio program is heard on more than 2,200 radio stations daily. A New York Times bestselling author and Gold Medallion winner, he has written more than fifty books.