If you live in this world with an impassioned sense of purpose, you are blessed beyond measure. Your purpose is what gets you out of bed in the morning—even if it is cold and rainy. It is what motivates you, what energizes you, what empowers you all throughout the day. Your purpose is what gives meaning and substance to your living day in and day out, year in and year out. And so, an impassioned purpose is anathema to a life of ease (Luke 12:19). It is, instead, a twin of excellence.
A wise woman named Jane Hines taught me that excellence is doing the best you can where you are at the level you are in. By this definition, excellence is a work ethic, a character, a way of life. Colossians 3:1–11 gives us a checklist and an insight on impassioned purpose and excellence.
1. An impassioned purpose seeks excellence.
Colossians 3:1–2 says that we are to “seek those things which are above, where Christ is,” and that we are to “set our mind” on those things. This reveals to us that excellence is a challenge to go beyond ourselves and reach out for higher, nobler things. It requires a striving or a struggle. It demands work. It requires a work ethic. An impassioned purpose responds to excellence because it does not want to settle for the mundane and the mediocre.
2. An impassioned purpose commits to excellence.
Commitment is a painful process because it forces us to respond and to rise into action. Colossians 3:5, 8–9 uses vivid verbs like “put to death” and “put off” to describe what we are to do to those deeds and behaviors that pull us down and weaken or destroy character. An impassioned purpose is committed to building personal character. (II Peter 1:5–7)
3. An impassioned purpose lives excellence.
Colossians 3:10 says that we are to “put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” An impassioned purpose practices lifelong learning in order to mirror or reflect Christ, the New Man. It is a way of life.
A few days ago I received this Viber post from a dear uncle: “We do more than belong, we participate; we do more than care, we help; we do more than believe, we practice; we do more than be fair, we be kind; we do more than forgive, we forget; we do more than give, we serve; we do more than teach, we inspire; we do more than live, we grow.” This sums up walking in impassioned purpose.