The other day I started reading this book that is titled something along the lines of "How to be an Excellent Woman". I didn't make it past page 12 for sheer boredom, but that is besides the point. When I put the book down, I asked myself a question. Why do you want to be excellent?
Same applies for my recent obsession with the book of Proverbs.
For those who haven't had the privilege of reading Proverbs, it's part of a section in the Bible called the "wisdom books" and rightly so; it contains sayings such as the famous "Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall." and the not so famous but true nonetheless, "A person’s wisdom yields patience; it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense."
Why get wisdom? Because it's better than foolishness? This is true. Good answer.
But the question I'm asking is one of motives and intentions. Because why you are what you are is as important as what you are.
As a young person trying to follow God, I see a lot of other young people who, like me, are seeking after righteousness, wisdom, excellence, and Proverbs 31-woman-ness, etc, and I find that sometimes, we get so caught up in the search, in trying to become all these things that we don't always take the time to find out what is in our hearts, motivating our righteous desires.
If it motivates a righteous desire, it's gotta be good right? Nope! So check yo self as I do the same.
Why do we seek to grow in wisdom, righteousness, excellence?
Is it so that people will see us and be in awe of how put-together we are?
So that other un-excellent people can be envious?
So that we can fit in with the rest of the righteous people at church?
To be recognized as perfect marriage material???
Or because we love God? Because we want to know Him more? To be someone through whom He shows himself and draws others to his excellence? Because whenever anything, no matter how worthy and good, becomes about us, me, mine, myself, how we look and how we feel, we are speeding down the highway of selfish ambition.
Should we strive for excellence, righteousness, et cetera? By all means, yes. But while we do that, we should also keep the truth hidden in our hearts - that we become excellent, running towards maturity in all areas of righteousness not so that we can be exalted, but so that we can disappear. As we lose more and more of our own selves, Christ takes up more and more of us, so that in seeing us, others may gain Him. The prize that drives us to live this way should be the Lord, because He literally is what we gain. When we see Him, we love Him, and from that point, knowing Him and making Him known is worth everything.