Africa is in want of excellent leadership that will turn around the fortunes of a continent that is blessed in natural wealth but plagued by ethnic conflicts, civil wars, corruption, drought, malnutrition, weak institutions, and tyrannical leaders. Many people have linked excellence with intellect. While I do not disagree with the role of human faculty and intelligence in achieving excellence, intellect alone does not suffice in transforming a nation and its smallest units, from mediocrity to excellence. The blessing of God is the necessary catalyst required to accelerate the works and intellect of man to excellence, as literacy rankings of countries that make the African continent do not necessarily reflect a pari-passu socio-economic ranking of the countries.
A blessing, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, is “the act or words of one that blesses,” or “a thing conducive to happiness or welfare.” In the Bible, there are several words that are usually translated as “blessing” or “bless.” The Hebrew word most often translated “bless” is barak, which can mean to praise, congratulate, or acknowledge. To excel means to be outstanding; to be above others, to go forward, to make progress. The blessing of God powers His people to excel!
Why the Church Needs to Excel
God is an excellent God – Psalm 8: 1 states: “O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth, who have set your glory above the heavens!”
If you’re a son of God, you must be like your father except you’re a bastard. If God is excellent, we don’t have a choice with mediocrity. God desires excellence. He hates stagnancy and mediocrity. You must be tired of stagnancy. God demands excellence in every area of your life. Jesus himself experienced excellence in ministry. He was distinguished. Hebrews 1: 9 (NIV) says: “You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy.” That’s excellence. When a life is anointed above its equals, that is an excellent spirit. If Jesus is your elder brother and he has an excellent spirit residing in him, you must be excellent. And if you love what he loves, you will get what he got. If he followed his father to the letter and you follow his walk/work to the letter, you must excel.
We have become too quiet as Christians and therefore our effect is not felt in the land. Way back when I was an undergraduate, my school was always in turbulence because of incessant industrial and social unrest. The unrest was usually either instigated by the students themselves or the academic staff union of the university. The Joint Christian Fellowship in my school came together in a meeting and declared that students were tired of the perennial crisis in the school. The Church in school decided that going forward, she wanted a Student Union Government (SUG) executive headed by Christians. When the election came, the offices were filled by those that feared God and for once the campus had a peaceful academic year. Thank God that was my final year. When the lecturers wanted to go on strike again, the SUG President told them that final year students must graduate. And we graduated. We had already spent seven years for a five-year course. Proverbs 29: 2 (NLT) states that: “When the godly are in authority, the people rejoice. But when the wicked are in power, they groan.”
Many times, the reason the righteous cannot rule the land is because they have refused to operate in the spirit of excellence. God wants to empower you to rule the land, so you must know this.
Moses excelled in his prophetic office. Abraham excelled, and he was blessed in every area. Isaac too was blessed even more than his father. The people had to tell him “go away from us. You are too rich,” for he waxed great and exceedingly great and the nation that drove him later came to make a treaty with him. I am confident that when the excellent spirit comes upon your life, people that have risen up to bring you down will come and help to raise you up. The same people who called Paul a murderer when a serpent bit him where the same people who said he is a God and they didn’t release him empty. They also packed goods and gave to him. It is that man that has said that you will not move forward that will eventually fight for your promotion because an excellent spirit resides inside of you.
When the spirit of excellence and perfection is upon the life of a believer, it does not connote that the majority around him will applaud him. In fact, it is likely that he may face opposition from a corrupt society. Recall that Daniel focused on God and obeying His commandments. He was not interested in brooding over his detractors. Detractors are indicators of progress and functionalism. When you have nothing excellent or perfect about you, there will be no opposition. From the day you became born again, you are destined for victory. What God has intended a man to be, no demon working through any man can thwart it. When the power for perfection and excellence comes upon you, you will do things that others will not naturally do, because the spirit of God is inside of you. The role of the Holy Spirit in your life as a believer goes beyond speaking in tongues.
Knowledge is power. Excellence is facilitated with the acquisition of knowledge. A lot of believers do not read books. The role of books cannot be understated. Pick up books on general knowledge and your vocation and read. Develop reading plans by assigning chapters to your daily schedule. There are no negotiations about reading your Bible which is your sword in the place of spiritual battle but excellence does not end with reading only the Bible. Explore books for knowledge. Of course, in our quest for knowledge, certain books should never be found on our bookshelves. Books on astrology, metaphysics, occult and Eastern religion should never fascinate us.
I’m always ashamed when I see Christian students nervous about impending exams. James 1: 5 is a scripture any scholar should appropriate effectively. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. If as a child of God, you are studious, with the application of the aforesaid scripture, every exam is beneath you. Were you not the one that attended the lectures? Were your school fees not paid? Even if you borrowed money to pay your school fees, your creditor is not your invigilator or lecturer. When a Christian student writes exams, his teacher should look at his scripts and wonder whether the student had an open book before him. It is possible to acquire more knowledge than your lecturers. The Bible says that “… because I obey your precept, I am ten times wiser than my teachers.” (Psalm 119:97). There’s excellence for every area of your life. It must be all rounded excellence. I’ve seen people who are excellent in their academics but poor in spiritual matter. I’ve seen people who are excellent in spiritual service but they are poor in their workplace, they are short of one. When you get anywhere, people should respect God in your life. You should be a solution to every problem. It is possible when the Spirit of God comes upon a life, to do those things that are unimaginable, unexpectedly good, things that are unprecedented because you have God inside of you.
All the apostles excelled in ministry. You too can excel in whatever your hands find to do. The ground is often overcrowded but there is always enough room at the top. When you look at a ladder at a building site, you will see many foremen around the site but few managers. The managers belong to a stratum of abundant space at the top of that ladder. There is still space for you at the top. Get tired of the ground because you shouldn’t be on the ground; you should be at the top! The day you met Him, he imparted it upon you.
POWER STEPS TO EXCEL.
Hate Mediocrity: Get tired of living the life that is little above the water. Hate mediocrity and the average. Live your life above the little you can get and go for the extra. For you to excel, your aspiration must be high over that area or field you are operating. If you are a banker, be the best banker, if you are a soldier, be the best soldier. When I was a child, I dreamt of being a soldier and what was at the centre of my heart was how to plan a coup. Every day, I marched around my father’s compound imagining I was a cadet. However, one day, I sat down and reviewed my dreams after going through the rigours of discipline in a military school and I decided that I was not ready to continue with such hardship throughout my working life. Today, I thank God I am not a soldier, nevertheless, I am a soldier for the Lord. I must be a better soldier for Jesus Christ; I thank God that I am a preacher today. Abandoning mediocrity implies infusing passion and aspirations into your vocation. It is a determination not to be ordinary. You don’t need a pulpit to be distinct; sincerely, you don’t. Remain in your corner of pursuit and your light would shine wherever you are, what you have in your hand is good enough to celebrate you. David had only a sling- just one sling! But by that sling, a song of praise was poured out to his name. Moses had only a rod and that rod became the rod of God. Your passion and aspiration will make all the difference, so fuse your passion and aspiration with active steps towards your goal. Learn to forget the past; past successes and past failures. When you brood on the past, whether for good or for evil, you cannot live with the spirit of excellence. Apostle Paul said, “I forget those things that are behind, pressing towards those things that are ahead.”
Don’t Give Up: In the face of failure, don’t give up, just keep working on it. Many great engineering feats are a product of cumulative failures. Inventors keep striving to succeed and when they do, nobody remembers the times they failed.
Have Clear and Precise Goals: If your goals are not clear, you will be very busy doing nothing. Once you have identified your goal, strive towards it. If you are called to be a preacher, stays focused and remain a preacher. If your goal is to be a pharmacist, be the best pharmacist. Pursue your goal with passion. Multiple goals tend to confuse the goal setter. Superb engineers are often not superb marketers.
Seek for Knowledge: Hosea 4:6 states that “my people perish for lack of knowledge.” Seek for knowledge in your vocation or profession. Buy books, journals, and join professional bodies of your profession. Lack of knowledge in your discipline would always leave you in an abysmal state.
Be Strong in the Lord: “And David said to Solomon, his son, be strong and be of good courage, fear not, nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God will be with thee. He will not fail thee nor forsake thee until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 28:20. Be strong in the lord because the lord will not leave you even as he does that which pertains to your life. Be soaked in the word of God, Trust God to fulfill his promises concerning you. A man who trusts and obeys God is a man who would go far, Hold on to Him. Let His spirit reign in your heart and He will exalt you above your peers. Selah