Cultivating an Excellent Spirit: Lessons from Scripture
Gary D. Adams, Ph.D.
In the pursuit of spiritual growth and maturity, believers often look to the exemplars of faith chronicled in the Bible for guidance and inspiration. The concept of an “excellent spirit” is one that resonates through the tapestry of scripture, encapsulating virtues that extend beyond mere moral goodness to embody an exceptional quality of character. This excellent spirit is vividly illustrated in the lives of figures like Daniel and is as relevant today as it was in the annals of biblical times.
Seeking to Please the Father
At the heart of an excellent spirit is the profound desire to please God. In John 8:29 (KJV), Jesus articulates this aspiration perfectly, revealing the intimate relationship He has with the Father, marked by obedience and a shared vision. An excellent spirit, therefore, emerges from a life aligned with God’s will, where pleasing Him transcends all other ambitions. It’s a spirit that finds delight in God’s commandments and sees His pleasure as the ultimate reward.
Steadfastness in Conviction
The narrative of Daniel in the lion’s den serves as an extraordinary testament to steadfastness in conviction. Daniel’s comrades, faced with the fiery furnace, assert their unwavering faith in God’s deliverance in Daniel 3:17-18 (KJV), but they also profess a fidelity to God that is not contingent on the outcome. An excellent spirit understands that true conviction stands unshaken by circumstances, remaining faithful to principles despite the cost. Such steadfastness is a hallmark of spiritual excellence, reflecting a depth of faith that is not swayed by trials.
Courage in Leadership
Joshua’s commission in Joshua 1:6-7 (KJV) embodies the courage that is intrinsic to an excellent spirit. Courage here is twofold: It’s about the boldness to take on great tasks and the bravery to adhere strictly to the divine directives given through Moses. This form of courage is proactive, not merely a reaction to fear but a commitment to act in accordance with divine instruction. An excellent spirit, therefore, encompasses the bravery to lead, to take on responsibility, and to walk in the path God sets forth, no matter how daunting it may be.
The qualities of an excellent spirit are numerous, each with its own profound impact on how believers live out their faith. Discernment, humility, compassion, wisdom, and integrity are additional facets of this spiritual excellence. They are not just virtues but are the fruit of a life deeply rooted in God’s word and the consistent practice of His presence.
John W. Gardner’s assertion that “all excellence involves discipline and tenacity of purpose” aptly applies to the development of an excellent spirit. It is not a trait that one is simply born with but is cultivated through disciplined spiritual practices—prayer, meditation on Scripture, and the application of biblical principles in daily life.
To nurture an excellent spirit, one must engage with scripture, not just as a historical or theoretical text, but as a living guide. Seeking the Holy Spirit’s wisdom in understanding and application is crucial. The quest for an excellent spirit is a journey of transformation that calls for resilience, purposeful action, and a steadfast commitment to grow in likeness to Christ.
In conclusion, cultivating an excellent spirit is a noble and transformative pursuit for any believer. By aspiring to please God, standing firm in conviction, and embodying courage, believers can reflect the character of the biblical heroes who inspire us. May each individual seek the Father’s help in appropriating and exhibiting such a spirit in all facets of life, for in doing so, they honor the legacy of faith handed down through the generations.