New Hope Notes
Faith Fixer Uppers
Pastor Wayne Cordeiro
[PASTOR WAYNE via Video from Eugene, Oregon]
More important than what you do is the spirit with which you do what you do—it defines you. It may even define your destiny. Throughout the Bible, the ones that were successful and fruitful had one thing in common: they had an extraordinary, excellent spirit.
Daniel was placed in the Bible as an example for us to follow because of his excellent spirit. As a very young man, Daniel was taken into captivity in the middle of the dark nation of Babylon. Babylon had erased any acknowledgment of God but, yet, God put Daniel right in the middle of it all. Daniel went through some of life's most challenging tests and passed them all with flying colors. Daniel was not only noble but his qualities were also well known by those around him; even the wife of the King noticed that Daniel exuded the spirit of the living God and said in…
Daniel 5:11 NIV, "There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him.” Daniel was found to have an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding and the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve difficult problems. Daniel possessed such a high level of impressive qualities that others could predict the outcome with him in any situation. No matter what it was, it was known that Daniel would come out a winner because he exuded the spirit of the living God.
A great deal can be said about a person by observing how he/she fares through the tests of life. Anyone can do well when the wind is at your back and everything is coming up roses, when everyone agrees with you, and you're in control. But that's not what defines you.
Who you are when the chips are down, when the road is rough, when things aren't coming up roses, and you don't seem to be in control is when the spirit of excellence will be your greatest asset.
Daniel had a spirit of consistency—also called a spirit of excellence. God guards and enables us to actually influence the people around us (our families, even nations) when we possess a spirit of excellence.
Your spirit is the most important thing about you. It’s more important than your past, money, skills, and talents. You can choose the kind of spirit you'll have, the kind of attitude that you will develop, or not develop. A mature and developed perspective on life is a spirit of excellence. Each of us will be faced with many tests in life and the spirit you bring to these challenges will determine how well you do.
Daniel 6:3 NIV, “Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities [he possessed an extraordinary spirit] that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom." Do you see how important your spirit is?
The following are four principles that we can learn from Daniel to help us develop the same spirit of excellence:
1. A Genuine, Unpretentious Character. No pretense. Daniel was a genuine person and his character was transparent; he had a biblically formed character. He did not engage in anything unless it had God’s stamp of approval.
We'll always have opportunities to compromise when no one may notice. But Daniel said it doesn’t matter if the public knows or doesn’t know. He did what he did for an audience of One. For Daniel, the deciding factor wasn't whether or not others would find out. It was whether or not it was righteous before God. This was the hallmark of the spirit of excellence that Daniel possessed; his every action was to honor God based on the righteousness of God.
Do things just because it’s right, period. Life gets simpler and clearer when the bottom line is to just do what is biblical and what pleases the heart of God. Delight His heart. Let your starting point always be one of genuine character—moral excellence. It’s something on the inside, a sense of foundation principled within your heart.
2. Commune With God Daily. Not annually or weekly.
Let me unpack the word "daily" for you. It's one of the words that come from the same root as "daylight," and it's cousins to the word "duration" or even "diligence." Notice they are comparatively the same. Start early at daylight for a longer duration and have diligence.
During harvest time, the farmers that brought their fruits and vegetables to market daily at daylight profited the most sales because of their duration (having been there longer). The combination of “duration” and "diligence" will make you a person with a spirit of excellence, a spirit of diligence.
Keep spending time daily with God doing your devotions until it becomes natural to sit at the feet of your Divine Mentor. Use the Life Journal Reading Plan until it becomes second nature to you. The key is to keep training until it becomes genuine and authentic about you. This will bring about the greatest amount of fruitfulness in your life and also develop wisdom. Wisdom will not be built in a day, but it will be built daily. And if you don't do it now, you won't have it in the future. Do it daily at daylight.
Daniel communed daily with God (prayed three times a day) and it enabled him to stand spiritually. There will be seasons in life when following God won't be easy or fun because He will sometimes ask you to do things that are tough but right—that go against the current. However, feeding yourself daily with God’s Word will pay huge dividends for the rest of your life; you can't rely on others to feed or carry you.
Doing something daily makes you a person with a spirit of excellence, with a spirit of diligence.
3. Be Comfortable With Your Faith. Are you open about your identity as a Christian, or is it something that makes you feel uncomfortable and you keep it under the surface and private?
Even though Daniel lived in a hostile country that often brought persecution to those who lived out their faith, he prayed three times a day in his room with his windows open so the people could see him. Daniel was comfortable sharing his faith openly; it came with practice and discipline. Daniel also gave God all the credit whenever he interpreted any of the king’s mysterious dreams.
Fix your attention on God. Don’t get so accustomed to your culture that you feel more comfortable with your surroundings in society, than on your faith. Place your day before God and make it an offering to Him daily. An example is when you’re in public and you sense a person needs prayer, pray for that person regardless of what others think. Doing this will change you from the inside out!
4. Navigate Problems With Wisdom. Don't be afraid of problems. How often we circumvent them and want to avoid them at any cost! But no matter how bad the problem may be, God can predict a favorable outcome if we've developed a spirit of excellence. Whenever Daniel solved a problem, a miracle followed because every miracle comes from a problem!
Life is not about comfort. If it were, then every problem would be a hassle, a roadblock, something to avoid or run from, make excuses about, or blame somebody else. However, when you live for something greater than your own comfort and pleasure, then everything will change!
God is looking for a people with a spirit of excellence, who are not afraid of problems. God uses them as vessels through which blessings come—conduits of His greatest works where miracles begin.
Colossians 3:2 NIV, "Set your minds on things that are above, not on earthly things."
If comfort in life is your highest goal or greatest cause, you'll end up serving yourself. However, if you live for a cause greater than yourself, self will diminish and you will become servants of a greater cause.
When we are transformed into God’s image, we will see as He sees and become the people that inherit the promises of God. You'll develop a spirit of excellence and the church will rise in all her glory and people will see how wonderful our Savior really is!
Live for a greater cause than yourself. Become the people that inherit the promises of God and start to develop a spirit of excellence, see things differently. That only happens when we live for a cause greater than ourselves.
[End of Video.]