“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, ESV)
Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”
Are you settling for doing less than you best? Are you in the words of the above quote “letting it rest”?
Be honest, do you each and every day give your very best for the Lord?
Let me begin with the understanding that the verse that I’m using as my launching pad was written to a specific person – Timothy a young preacher and was addressed to a specific circumstance – to do his best in handling the Scriptures.
But I believe the underlying principle – to do your best – applies to each and every one who claims to be a follower of Jesus. Sadly observation and personal experience reveal that is not always the case. Far too many Christians (including the one writing this) are guilty of doing just the opposite. We are far too content with mediocrity, we are far too content to to let it rest.
“If any of you have a desire to be mediocre, you will probably find that you have already achieved your ambition.”
― Hugh B. Brown
What does it mean to do our best? The underlying Greek word means to be zealous, diligent. To do our best means to do something with intense effort and motivation. Aw, there’s the rub! To do our best requires intense effort and motivation. Now I know why I settle for second best, I’m lazy! Let’s face it do we really like to do much of anything with intense effort – other than eating?
They say that acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving the problem. Now that we have acknowledged the problem where do we go from here?
What will it take to move from rest to best?
1. Desire – The starting point is having the desire to do your best. If you don’t have a desire to do your best, you will never put forth the “intense effort” that doing our best demands. There are two enemies that are waging war against against us doing our best. The first one is our flesh. Our flesh, these un-glorified bodies aren’t big fans of “intense effort”. Our flesh would much rather rest, than do our best. The second enemy we face is our culture. Sadly we find ourselves in a “race to the bottom”. Everybody gets a trophy whether they win or lose. So if everybody gets the same trophy why should I work any harder than the next guy?
What can we do if we find that we are lacking in the area of desire?
- First go to the Lord in prayer and confess that have settled into the comfortable world of mediocrity.
- Second ask the Lord to change our hearts, to change our thinking so that as our thinking begins to change so will our desire.
- Third find you a verse that directly addresses this issue. My motivation for writing these words came from simply reading the verse above. As I was reading Paul’s words the Holy Spirit prompted me to pause and think about it. The more I thought about I was convicted that I was guilty of not doing my best. So use this verse or find another verse that you can mediate on and allow the Holy Spirit to increase your desire to do your best for the glory of God.
Second in order for you to do your best you have to know what you’re doing. In order to do your best you need to “know what you don’t know”. Therefore you need to acquire the knowledge that will allow you to do your best. I’m not much of a handyman – my wife and children can attest to several projects that didn’t turn out as I had expected or hoped. Why? Simply because I lacked the knowledge to get the job done. The same principle is true in the Christian life you must know both what to do and what not to do. We see this in the opening verses of the Bible. We read in Genesis chapter one:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” (Genesis 1:27–29, ESV)
God had to tell them what to do, they were lacking knowledge.
What can you do when you lack knowledge? Get it! “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight.” (Proverbs 4:7, ESV) Thankfully today there are multiple ways to get knowledge. Search out quality resources online, ask a Christian friend to disciple you and don’t forget your pastor’s sermons. Properly prepared and delivered they can be a tremendous source of knowledge to help you grow in Christ.
The third component of doing your best is skill. Skill is the ability to do something well. Skill is developed through the repetitious application of knowledge. The reason many Christians struggle spiritually is that they have never developed the necessary skills to help them overcome their struggles. You must be willing to take what you have learned, apply that knowledge and then continue to refine your efforts until one day you wake up and realize that you have developed a new skill. Once you have developed that skill, it’s almost as if you’re on auto-pilot in that area. Then you can move on to conquering your next challenge.
4. Just Do it!
Finally to do your best you have to as Nike says “Just do it!” Make a commitment that you are going to do your best for Christ. Make the commitment to acquire the knowledge you need. Make the commitment to do the hard work of developing the necessary skills.
Why should we do our best?
Simply because God is worth it and he has asked us to do our best. That should be all the motivation we need to do our very best and thereby become a worker who achieves the approval of God.
What is the alternative?