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Paradox of Excellence

Paradox of Excellence:

Philippians 3:7-9 NKJV
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;

Philippians 3:7-9 Message
7 The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I'm tearing up and throwing out with the trash - along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. 8 Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant - dog dung. I've dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ 9 and be embraced by him. I didn't want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ - God's righteousness.

It's a paradox of excellence, this christian life we live. If I am seeking my own fame, name, and fortune, I am likely to fall on my face. If I realize that HE is my fame, name, and fortune and I point to him (not just as an act but truly, inwardly, daily, point to Him) than I can be humbly exalted. To be humble doesn't mean I live in the dirt. It means I place myself under submission to Him. As I submit to God HE exalts me in due time.

I am nothing, of my own strength and accord. But through Him I can move mountains. Jesus points to His disciples and says: You have Faith and YOU can move mountains! He is always pointing back to us and saying "YOU" can do this. "YOU" have been given the authority. You GO and I'll back it! Yet at the same time we come to realize that WE don't heal, HE does. But we have a role to play. James tells us that it's humans that must come to humans, pray the prayer of faith and anoint with oil. But Jesus does the healing. We have a part, He has a part. It's not I that moves mountains. It's Him. BUT He is always pointing back to us. We never have trouble believing that HE can, but rather that we have a part to play. So God chooses to highlight our part rather than his to make the point!

It is our believing words (words that agree with His word) and actions that Jesus presides over as high priest (sees, authors, and causes to come to pass). He is the author and finisher of our faith. But what does that mean? If I go off half wittingly saying something I heard someone say once does that mean I'll get it? Will He endorse my half loaded schemes for wealth? Will He just empower everything my hand touches to prosper? What if it touches something ungodly? Will that prosper too? What context or framework must I understand to get how this life of faith works?

Jesus will cause what he started to come to pass in my life. But there is a catch. There is a hang up. There is a caveat. HE is the author... If He didn't author it you can be sure HE isn't likely to bring it to pass. We come up with all sorts of things. In fact, as we walk closer and closer with him, more and more aware of his presence and voice in our daily dealings, we become more like him. There could come a time where He says: "Hey, you make a decision, I'll back it!" But this comes as we walk IN HIM. He becomes the author and finisher of our faith. He indwells us so clearly and calmly that we couldn't tell if it was him in us or us anyway. In the end, it is HE who is the author. If we do get into HIS script we cannot see HIS blessing empowering us to prosper as it should. There are things he allows us to do that are not on his path, but not completely wrong and there are measures of blessing there. But unless HE is authoring your story you will only see minimal results. You will likely live a life of frustration unless you are seeking HIM as your author. Just do a search for "In Him" through the bible and see what you come up with. It's amazing what we have and are In Him!

What does that mean? It's a great principle but what does that mean? Well. You are an MBA (Masters of Business Administration). You have 10+ years experience leading the corporate world. So there is a new project laid on your desk. You see instantly, through your years of experience how to handle it. Do you:

A. Use your experience and training to handle this new project. Walking confidently in your degrees and background and training.

or

B. Go to prayer, with the door shut so no one watches or interrupts, and say: "Lord. There is a project here. I have some ideas as to how it should be handled. But I want to always seek your will and insight before I take any steps, mental or otherwise, toward handling this. What would you have me do here? What is your perspective on this?

It was a simple project. Not unlike anything you've done before. But what if it was 2007 and the Markets were about to crash like never before and a multi year recession was about to hit the economy and banks that you thought we always be around were about to fail... Some people saw that coming. MOST did not. The Holy Spirit could lead you through that, making provision for it ahead of time. Altering your plans to do this instead of that. Put this here not there. Etc. He sees things YOUR experience can't see. So until you lay aside your degrees and experiences for HIS wisdom, you will live as a mere man. Natural at best.

So there in lies this paradox. Paul, most likely, used his learning and experience to handle the word like no other man on the planet at that time, maybe since. But he says here in Philippians that he is laying all that down and counting it loss for the EXCELLENCE of knowing Jesus the Anointed One AND His Anointing!

It is the anointing that destroys burdens and removes yokes. Christ (Greek for anointed/anointing) is the one who keeps us free from burden and yokes that would try to hold us back. The only people walking in the freedom to prosper at whatever they put their hand to are those walking in the anointing that Paul refers to here. There is an excellence that the anointing requires. Again, herein lies the paradox. It's not your excellence. You simply acknowledge that you don't have what it takes. You make it your primary job to forget you, because you died the day you got saved/born again. You take up His life. Jesus lives IN you. You seek him 1st thing in the morning, throughout the day, and last thing at night. Not in religious prayer rituals, but in true fellowship.
Getting Practical:

This whole writing so far has been very much written in principle/concept. It all sounds great. But what does that really mean? How do I do this? There are so many things I could write here. Pray at least ten minutes a day. Read, if not study, at least a chapter a day through the bible, find a reading plan through your church, this website, or various other resources. But I'd like to offer just TWO practical skills that I have used to change my life at work and then later as I adapted them to my personal life.

I learned some valuable techniques as a coach/trainer for a call center that I'd like to share with you. One is called QNI. Another is called Post Session Review. What I suggest is that you become your own best coach. Apply these to your life. See what happens. It may feel cheesy at first, just do it. Watch how well it works. The main deal here is, realize that you are a work in progress. Remember that saying we try to relegate to kids all the time: "Please be patient, God's not finished with me yet." It applies to us as adults just as much. If you were mean to someone today, pray, ask for forgiveness from God and move on knowing that you are totally clean from that mess. DO NOT beat yourself up over anything you do. Just consider yourself in training. The important thing here is: Be Coachable.

1. QNI: Quote (What did you do/say), Name (What skill/fruit were you walking in, or not), Impact (What impact did that have on you/others)

2. Post Session Review:
     a. "What did you do well?" or "What went well for you there?"


     b. "What could you have done better next time?" or "What would you like to do differently next time?"

Example:


Today you had a rough day at work, came home were short with the kids/wife/dog/whoever... What happened here? 

QNI: 
Q: Lord, today I yelled "Just shut up!" to the dog.
N: That wasn't walking in Love or Patience.
I: The dog is nervous around me and I feel more tense and frustrated.

Post Session Review:
What went well?
I had a decent day at work today. I told someone about a day that had become available for vacation and they may get an extra day added to their holiday time off. I felt good about that.

What would you change?
When I came home I was frustrated because I hadn't hit my sales numbers, and I yelled at the dog. That only served to add to my frustration, and the dog is more tense around me. Next time I will take five minutes or more to reset, pray, forgive people, forgive myself, trust in your kindness, and thank you for the things that went well BEFORE I come in the house.

Wrap Up:
If you take time daily to engage in some self coaching, honestly and openly, you can add to your own productivity. Give it a try!

Darrell G. Wolfe

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Darrell's Reading List


Here are some books I've been reading lately:
  • Hacker: The Outlaw Chronicles (here) by Ted Dekker (Author). The story of a young Hacker girl, who went on a wild adventure into the supernatural realm beyond trying to save her mom, but saved her self too in the process.
  • Saint: A Paradise Novel (here) by Ted Dekker (Author). He's an assassin, or is he? He finds a secret to his past that unlocks supernatural abilities, at a cost.
  • For a full list of all my book suggestions, see my Amazon Store.

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