When we get caught up wondering if our work is excellent, if it’s the best that it can be, we need to make sure we’re not defining it by the world’s definition of that word.
Sure, you can have the highest profiting company in the city (state, country, world) but if you got there by slander, cheating, lying, or anything that questions your moral compass, it was not done with excellence even if the star rating of the company or product makes it look that way. When you care more about the success of the outcome than how you get to the outcome, you’re glorifying yourself rather than glorifying God through your work.
Colossians 3:23-24 shares what God views as excellent work: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
As we strive for excellence, we must be aware of the enemies of excellence that can hinder our progress and success. Here are a few common enemies:
Complacency: When we become complacent in our work, we stop pushing ourselves to improve and grow. We become satisfied with mediocre results, and we may even become resistant to change or new ideas. This can lead to stagnation in our careers and a lack of fulfillment in our work.
As Proverbs 13:4 says, “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Being diligent and curious about learning and improving benefits you, your coworkers, and your company.
Fear: There are many ways fear can manifest itself, such as fear of failure or fear of success. When we are afraid of failure, we may avoid taking risks or trying new things, which can limit our potential for growth. On the other hand, when we are afraid of success and the responsibilities that go with it, we may sabotage our efforts or shy away from opportunities that could lead to greater success.
2 Timothy 1:7 states, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” We must trust in God’s strength and guidance, and the path he has set out for us. When we are excellent in our work, we show others love and our work becomes worship.
Pride: When pride creeps up, we may think that we have nothing left to learn or that we’re above criticism. This can lead to a lack of humility, which is essential for growth and improvement.
Proverbs 11:2 says, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” We must remain humble in our work, always willing to learn, and stay open to constructive criticism and feedback.
There are many other enemies of success (laziness, lack of purpose, lack of order, etc). Take some time to process your work ethic and culture and figure out what enemies you’re struggling with and steps you can take to overcome them. When we fight the enemy, we can achieve excellence in our work, honor God with our efforts, and take strides toward finding fulfillment and success in our careers.