A More Excellent Way

21 01 2010

“But earnestly desire the best gifts. And yet I show you a more excellent way.” – I Corinthians 12:31

Last year our discussion focused on defining and growing in our gifts as we pursue living in our MAXIMIUM potential.  If you have just joined us in 2010, take some time and explore our discussion from 2009. This year, as we take this discussion to the next level, we will indeed find the more excellent way as we grow the fruits of the spirit.

You know some folks may know what their gift is and be functioning in their gift, but something is still missing.  You see there are so many of us that are gifted but have missed the more excellent way.  You know the folks that always seem to have everything but they have a HORRIBLE attitude.   Like the CEO that seems to have it all, but they are mean and seem like they hate life.  Or how about that friend that has the largest ego’s as if everything is all about them.  These are the folks that are difficult to work with and often steal your joy.  Actually if you watch these people overtime, they end up crashing and burning.  These are the folks that get fired, only have negative things to say, have a less than happy home life…shall I go on or do you get the point?   If you don’t get it, what this boils down to is character.   According to the Webster dictionary, character is one’s attributes or features, it is moral excellence and firmness, a persons noticeable traits.  So yes your gifts and character MUST go hand in hand in order to get to your own “For Such A Time as This Moment” – a little reference to last years theme :-). 

So what is this more excellent way you may be asking? I have heard it said this way, “no matter how great people’s gifts are, they won’t be able to be in, or stay in, a position to use those gifts without having developed the fruit.” – Joyce Meyer.  So our gifts will not mean anything if we don’t also develop our character, our fruit.  However In today’s world there is so much value placed on position or possession and not on persona, personality and/or the fabric of a person.  Yes our focus is mostly on material things – cars, clothes, bling bling – you know all the outer stuff that make us look good, but what does it matter if the outside looks good if the inside is rotten?   So you may have the latest Gucci or Fendi but you are mean to people.  You may have the new Lexuis or the BMW but you may also be depressed and hurting inside.  You see the outside appearance may fool some for a while, it may even make you feel better for a hot minute but eventually that inner person is what shines through and is seen by all.

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them” – Matthew 7:16-20

Character, whether you realize it or not is not just what others see, it is who we are even when no one is watching. It is how you treat people, how you react to stressful situations.  It all affects the fruit that we bear!  So what kind of fruit do you bear?  Do you shine from within? Does your fruit, your personality, your character look good on the outside and inside? Let me say it this way, you know when you are at the grocery store and you are picking produce, don’t you look for the one that looks the absolute best on the outside, but when you get home and cut into the piece of fruit to eat it, don’t you throw it away when you see that it is rotten!!!!   Our goal is to be that piece of fruit that looks good on the outside and taste good on the inside.   NO GIRL we will not be something that is thrown away!!! So if you are one of those people, like myself that likes to shop, let me put it this way – we must make our outer bling bling match our inner bling bling J  YES WE MUST SHINE!!!  This indeed is the more excellent way. So by us focusing on growing our own fruit, we are in essence focusing on growing in character.

Let me see if I can make this a little more plain by sharing with you when I believe I found the beginning of my more excellent way.  I remember back in the early 90’s when I really started to take my relationship with God seriously.  I had just started my program for teenage girls, Imani Phi Christ but I really had not developed my fruit.  You see I finally found my calling but I had a bad attitude.  Now those of you that knew me back then can attest to how funky I really was…LOL.  Well one day it just hit me like a ton of bricks, why was I not TRULY happy?  I found something I loved to do but my life still did not seem to be on track?  I had the outside all together but what I needed was a inner change. I needed to find the more excellent way!  Well I must tell you that I set out on a journey to grow my fruit and work on my attitude and I told every one of my friends to check me if I was ever being mean or funky. I am thankful to those people in my life as they began to water the fruits of the spirit within me.  Now although that was some 16 years ago and I am a lot better than I used to be, I have not yet arrived. I am a work in progress. You see the old me is still present so I must constantly make a choice toward this more excellent way, sometimes daily, sometimes by the minute.   I realize now that when I am having one of those moments, something is trying to steal my peace, steal my joy and I have got to make the choice to use my fruit in stead of my funk J I realized as I began this initial exploration of the fruits of the spirit for myself that the Holy Spirit is really here to bring us in tune with God’s will for our lives.   All we have to do is to make the choice to exercise this growth and the Holy Spirit will help us to grow in character. So this fruit of the spirit described in Galatians 5:22 & 23 is a description of the characteristics that  if fostered and grown will allows us to work toward becoming more like Christ over time.  So why not work to cultivate self which will allow you to become the woman God called you to be?  Hmm… so what kind of fruit do you bear?  Even if you think your fruit is already ripe both inside & out, don’t we all have a goal to keep it at its freshest?  That is what we focus on this year – the more excellent way.

“Excellence is not a singular act, but a habit.  You are what you repeatedly do.” – Shaquille O’Neal

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” – James D. Miles

 “Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Watch your words, for they become actions. Watch your actions, for they become habits. Watch your habits, for they come character. Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” – Unknown

“Reputation is the shadow. Character is the tree” – Abraham Lincoln

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character” – Albert Einstein

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2 responses

21 01 2010
Tracey

WOWZER… okay, ON POINT TODAY (for today)!

Character is who others say you are…
INTEGRITY IS WHO YOU ARE!

Excellent! This really ministered to me and confirmed today’s (and so many others) journey.

25 01 2010
JC Conrad-Ellis

I can’t imagine you ever being mean and nasty. Glad I met the “nice” Nicole. I love the quotes that you always put at the bottom. And it’s so true. I try to always behave as though someone is watching, especially with people who are in a service role. For aren’t we all servants of God?

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