As a boy, whenever I left the house for school, a ballgame, or an event, my mother always used to say – “Kelly Jr, Do your best!”. Now, sometimes this situation was more serious and “You better do your best” was implied. The point is this – Mom used to encourage me to do my best.
As humans, we strive for mastery. We want to be the best possible – basketball, baseball, musician, artist, actor, banker, worker, or whatever natural profession you choose. In my case, I sell insurance. I want to be the best I can be. I want to be professional, courteous, and friendly. I want to be the best!
What about for God? Do we strive for this same level of mastery? So many times as believers, we strive for mastery in our natural lives, but God is second place. We spend God “when we have time” instead of letting time with God dictate the rest of our day.
Many times when we strive for mastery in life, it is because we are looking to seek to meet our natural needs. We are concerned about paying bills or meeting financial goals. Mastery is a way to meet our concerns. In Matthew 6, Jesus addresses human concern. In verse 33, Jesus said, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The words of Christ point us to seeking Christ first and foremost. HE said that when we seek Him, all the other things in life we worry about will be provided for.
A job or profession is temporary. You will eventually find another one or have to retire. Think about what God has done for us. God created us. He gave us life and everything we have. He sent His Son to die for us. We have eternal life through Christ. Considering these things, shouldn’t we seek mastery for Christ First and foremost? I can tell you from experience that the times in my life I put God first that my insurance job is a lot easier. I have favor with my clients and with other people. God brings to my mind solutions to the issues I face. I have a constant companion to get through the day’s rigors and struggles.
We should strive for mastery as a believer in Christ. Do you want to be the best Christian possible? The best example of Christ? Christ knew the word. Christ prayed. Christ served. To be the best requires dedication. It requires submission. It requires the sacrifice of what we want to do with our time to do what is necessary to be closer to God. This is key to walking with God.
Here is what Paul said in I Cor. 9:24-27: “24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.”
Let’s live our lives to win the prize. To be the best we can be for God. We will fall short, we will face challenges and trials, and we will make mistakes. However, Proverbs 24:16 reads, “…for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” When we fall down or make a mistake, we pray and ask God to forgive us and give us the grace and strength to go forward. We continue running the race and striving for mastery in Him.
Jesus said in John 15:5, “apart from me you can do nothing”. Paul said, “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Eph. 4:13). In Him there can be mastery. Without Him, there is misery. Mastery of God’s things should be at the center of our lives. Let us seek first the Kingdom and let the Lord order our lives.