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“WORLD CLASS” – Oct 16

October 16, 2013

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

The moniker “world-class” has a very specific connotation to me.  It gets bandied about with other titles such as phenomenal, genius, and awesome, but just like those adjectives, it often loses its meaning due to a lack of context.  To be described as world-class, one has to be among the best in the world at a given activity.

There are some activities whose practitioners are world-class and I can appreciate what they do.  However, I cannot grasp the level of their achievements because I am a mere observer.

Jascha Heifetz is generally considered the greatest violin performer of the modern recording age. English: Russian violinist Jascha Heifetz in T...He is one of the very few players who was capable of hitting the high note at the end of Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto .  I don’t play the violin, I don’t have a practical concept of how hard it really is.

Rembrandt: Self Portrait (Altman)I love Dutch Realist paintings.  So, it is not surprising that I have a deep appreciation of Rembrandt and his use of reflected light and shadows.  One of my favorite paintings is the Night Watch .  I am not an artist.  Reproducing a Dutch Realist painting is beyond my wildest optimism.

There are other world-class practitioners who I find incredible, precisely because I HAVE tried to do what they do.  I understand their level of achievements because I can compare it to my achievements in the same activity.

Mal Booth / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Ironman World Championship was held in Kona, Hawaii this last weekend.  Mirinda Carfrae won with a course-record time of 8:52:14.  She ran a marathon in just 2:50:35.  That was very close to the 1971 marathon world record, but Carfrae’s marathon was after swimming 3.8 km (2.36 miles) and biking 180 km (111.85) miles.  I have never done an ironman distance triathlon but I do know my times for those separate distances, except for a full marathon.  She is awesome because I know the context of her speed;  she is world-class.

Chris Froome wins the 17th stage in the Vuelta...

Chris Fromme won the Tour de France this year.  He won the Stage 16 time trial by averaging over 20 mph on a course with two category two climbs and a very twisting, technical route.  Based on my personal riding experience, I am under no delusion that I would have been anywhere close to Chris Fromme on that stage of the Tour (or any stage for that matter). His performance was simply world-class.

rphipps75 / Foter / CC BY-SA

Mo Farah is the current 10,000 meters Olympic and World champion and 5000 meters Olympic, World and European champion.  The time it takes him to run 10,000 meters is just slightly longer then what it takes me to cover half that distance.  C’mon, that is ridiculous.

Until you try an activity, it is difficult to appreciate how special world-class people really are.

We can be deceived into thinking that everything is fine by simply reading the Bible.  Many listen to the Word, don’t apply it to their lives in practical ways, and convince themselves that nothing needs to change.

It is not until you become a doer of the word that you realize the importance of grace and the long road of sanctification.

It is not until you try to forgive someone when you realize you have an unforgiving heart and need the Spirit’s help to forgive.

It is not until you try to keep your mouth shut that you realize you have a problem with gossip and need the Spirit to tame your tongue.

It is not until you go to give your money away that you realize that you’ve got the green monster of greed and need the Spirit to help you surrender the idol of money.

When the instruction of the Bible is academic, we can convince ourselves that we are a good people.  It is in the doing the commandments of the Word where we see all the unrighteousness that still is within us.

Being a doer of the Word reminds us of who we are;
Sinners in need of a Savior.

Being a doer of the Word allows the Spirit to do His work:
To be living and active in our lives.

Being a doer of the Word opens our eyes;
To reveal our self-deception.

We need to remember that we are world-class.  Those who are in Christ are world-class because they are children of God.  We are world-class because we are the only ones in the world who can please God.  The only way to please God is by living in the Spirit; that is possible only for a child of God.

That makes us world-class.

Being a doer of the Word reveals to us what being world-class means.

We are to be world-class in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  The good news is that we do not have to be born with those characteristics.  They are gifts.  Therefore, all we have to do to be world- class in pleasing God is to abide in Him,  to set our minds on things of the Spirit, and be led by the Spirit of God.

May we open our Bibles and actually do what it tells us.  Through that act of obedience, we will experience what it means to live as a world-class child of the King of kings!

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for making very special people in this world.  Father, I praise you for the world-class abilities of the exceptional people in this world.  Thank you for allowing  exceptionalism to exist because it points to you.   Thank you for making me world-class in an activity that matters more than anything else – pleasing you.  Thank you for adopting me as your child.  Lord, create in me a desire to live by the Word that you have given us.  Help me to remember who I am and what you are doing in me.  Continue your work in me.  Help me to set my mind on you and to be a doer of your Word.    Help me to please you in all that I do, say, and write.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son,  Jesus Christ.   Amen.

6 comments

  1. I have always enjoyed reading about the great saints like Corrie ten Boom who was able to find that supernatural power of forgiveness. The wives of Jim Elliott and his missionary friends who returned to make peace with the missionaries killers and eventually see them won to Christ. Mother Teresa who gave all to be the good Samaritan to the dying. Somehow I always thought they were ” exceptional”. Your devotional really spoke to me that we are all called to be exceptional by being doers of the Word.


  2. One addition, being doers of the word opens our eyes to the miraculous, the God-controlled, Spirit-empowered events that change history, change lives. Appreciate your post so much JD. STAND STRONG my brother.


    • Your thought … about being “doers” opens our eyes to … (so much) the miraculous … God’s dazzling love and blessings and … so much. Good word. T


  3. I am so grateful that in Christ, I can please my God … having His promise that He never leaves nor forsakes me, I can embark the journey of a world champion … He give me His vision for the race, His endurance, His victory … What a marvelous game-plan… thanks for reminding me today, JD.


  4. I could not agree more!


  5. JD – great post. Many of us are metaphor-folks: some more than others. Your metaphors here are really good. The ‘academic piece” of how one can approach the Bible, and slide into a false assumption that there are no concerns resonates. Okay, keep on writing and ministering. T



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