We hear a lot today about American “exceptionalism” from many different viewpoints. When we talk about individuals, being exceptional is a moniker that is now left to the athlete, artist, genius or financial titan. I find that the word exceptional is almost lost in the secular world when it comes to describing the men and women of faith except of course for the very few whom we would consider as such; exceptional.
We see pictures in the Bible of men and women who possessed this quality. These rare few now line the gold or silver shimmering tissue thin pages of our Bibles. One such man of the Holy Scriptures who was found to be exceptional was Daniel. In Daniel 5:11-12 (HCSB) the Queen of Babylon is talking to the new king (who is in some trouble with God) and she describes Daniel like this, “There is a man in your kingdom who has the spirit of the holy gods in him. In the days of your predecessor he was found to have insight, intelligence, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods… [Daniel] was found to have an extraordinary spirit, knowledge and perception, and the ability to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems.”
Daniel was an exceptional man of God and those around him knew it. In fact, he had an excellent reputation. I believe that God is raising men and women in the Body of Christ who are like Daniel, exceptional. One of the descriptions that fascinated me was that Daniel had an extraordinary spirit. This spirit that he had was extraordinary because of how he carried himself, the way that he interacted and how he conducted his affairs with everyone. This is what I have heard referred to as excellence of soul.
Our souls are the seats of our emotions, the mental faculties that we exercise, along with the processes of thought that we naturally walk through in any given situation. Daniel had excellence in how he thought, how he believed and how he handled his emotions in every circumstance. We know that Daniel was an exceptional man because of his love of God and his unwavering faithfulness to Him.
I believe that there are many great men and women of God who are called to live extraordinary lives and to lead others into exceptional exploits, yet there is a lack of this same extraordinary spirit. When we have our focus on only being physically and “spiritually” fit, we can often forget that it’s our souls that need to be healthy and come up to where the Spirit has placed us through Jesus Christ.
John prays for his brother in Christ in 3 John 1:2, “Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.” As we seek an excellent soul, we must have a passion to improve the way we believe, the way we think, and the way we handle our emotions so that they prosper. Our goal with striving for excellence is to possess the mind of Christ, to have faith that moves mountains, and live in the fruit of the spirit which is all about healthy emotional responses. Ask God for an excellent soul and He will give it to you. I believe God is waiting to unleash excellence on those who desire to have an extraordinary spirit in Bonner County. When we begin to live extraordinary lives, our community won’t be the same!