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Just Get Better
This series of podcasts will provide a ton of practical ways to grow in your walk with God. But something has to happen before you are able to try something new and accomplish something more. First you have to convincingly say these words to yourself: "Just Get Better." This resolve to move forward, to do more, to be more, is crucial to seeing real change in your life. If you want to be a more faithful Christian, a more devoted parent, a more evangelistic voice, it begins with these powerful words.
The Word of God teaches that Christians grow. There is no such thing a living tree that isn't growing, changing, producing. And the same is true for Christians. Let's talk about that and then lay out a simple bit of homework that can really get you on your way!
Hello everyone. Welcome to the Excel Still More podcast. I'm your host, Kris Emerson. The purpose of this program is to discuss proven strategies that can help you excel in your faithfulness, your relationships, and really every part of your life. Each episode we'll introduce a simple idea, show it to you in scripture, and send you on your way with some practical concepts to put in place. If you're interested in becoming a better, stronger person and a more committed Christian, you've come to the right place. Let's get started.
So today we're going to talk about three simple words: Just Get Better. So many times we're held back by things that have happened to us, things that we believe are outside of our control and all those things exist. But in the end, we just need to stop making excuses and stop blaming other people. And wherever you are right now, determine to just get better. That's what we'll be talking about today. It's this idea of progress. We're not talking about huge leaps and bounds. We're talking about 1% increments of growth. We're talking about using every day to just excel a little bit. And here's the thing, we're not pulling this out of thin air. This is a very strong Bible idea. I mean, if you've studied the New Testament much, you know about all the imagery of plants and trees and growth and all you have to do is walk outside.
If a tree is alive, it is growing, the roots are deepening, the trunk is widening, the branches are stretching out a little further. If it's dead, it's not growing. So if you're a Christian who's saying, you know, I'm just kind of hanging in there, just hold my own, just trying to weather the storm: that's not living. Living in Christ is growing. John 15 talks about how He is the vine and we are the branches. We draw nourishment from him and we grow. And so we're going to talk a little bit about that. The entire title of our podcast is excel still more. Do you know that comes straight from scripture? First Thessalonians chapter four talks about the need to excel. No matter how far you've come, go further; no matter how much you've done, do more. If you're familiar with that letter, you might remember that the Thessalonian church was actually doing very well.
They had excelled in their love for one another. They had a tremendous reputation, so these weren't people in the dumps that he was trying to get motivated. These were people who were already doing some pretty awesome things, but the message in first Thessalonians chapter four is not, hey, that's great. Just hang onto what you got. The message in that chapter was your love for one another is outstanding. Now from there: excel still more. Find a way to reach the next level in the way you love one another. He mentions it this way in chapter three: increase and abound. He was talking about their faith and their service. So if you plan to be a productive child of God in 2019 you're not just going to stick where you are. You're going to find ways to get better, to reach new heights. And listen, the apostle Paul didn't just preach this to the Thessalonians, which by the way, they listened to because by the time he wrote the second Thessalonians letter, they had gone even further and done even more being driven to do so. But it wasn't just Paul saying, hey, let me tell you guys what you need to do.
He employed this same thing in his life as well. When you think about the apostle Paul, would you say that's a guy who got a lot of things done? Would you say that's a guy who pushed through any adversity and he didn't make excuses and he just got better? Yeah, we'd all say that. Well, let me tell you where that comes from. If you go to the book of Philippians and you look in chapter three he's writing about himself and he talks about how he's not as mature as he wants to be. He has not reached the level of perfection, but what he does is he decides to forget what lies behind and just press on reaching forward to attain. The goal for the prize. Now let me explain that for just a second. The prize is heaven. You don't do it for the prize.
You do it to reach the goal. The goal was get faster, get stronger, get better, cross the finish line of death going as fast as you possibly can. That's the goal. The prize, the wreath, the metal. That's God's business. God will give you the prize. God will hand you heaven, but the goal is not, well, let me put it this way: if a runner's goal is to win the medal, he's never going to get the medal. The runner's goal has to be to run as fast as he possibly can and train to get as good as he can possibly get, and then the ribbon, the medal, it takes care of itself. So maybe what we need to start with here is just a mentality that says, I'm going to forget everything that's held me back before when it comes to my faith, when it comes to my attendance, in worship or my Bible reading or my evangelism or the way I treat my spouse or everything.
I'm not going to settle for what I've been. I'm going to do more and get better because that's the only way to be a productive Christian. Here's a story you probably know really well. Do you remember when Jesus talked about the parable of the talents? The man goes away and before he goes, he gives one guy five talents, one guy two talents, and another guy only one talent. Now here's the thing. The guy with five and the guy with two gave him back the same amount. Now if you're thinking about that story, you might be thinking, no, they didn't. The guy with five gave him back ten and the guy with two gave him back four. Well, that's the same amount. They each grew 100%. From five, he doubled it. From ten, he doubled it. And do you know how they did that? There are two key words in that story: Immediately and Gained.
They didn't wait. They didn't make excuses. They didn't worry about it. They immediately did something with the intent to gain. They didn't know how long he would be gone. They didn't know how much he would expect and none of that really mattered. Sometimes when we're setting goals, it's all about this duration of time or reaching this level. That's the wrong idea. The idea is: I'm going to start getting better right now. I'm going to keep getting better every day and however long I get, that's how it will gauge how much I produce, but I'm not going to worry about that. I'm just going to get better. Now you probably remember the last guy, you remember that guy? He had the one talent. He felt like he was going to lose it. Maybe he was afraid to face the master when he returned, so he buried it in the ground and it seemed like he was kind of proud of himself at the end.
He gave the one back like: You gave me one. I'm giving you one back. And what did the master say? He said, you wicked lazy slave. Basically, he says, I could have put it in my pocket and did that. I wanted you to do something with it. And so that story has a very powerful idea for you. If the Lord lets you live three more months, don't give him the same thing he's given you today. Give him something more back. He doesn't need the same. In fact, he doesn't need any of it. What he needs is for you to grow. He needs you to immediately try to apply yourself to taking steps. And look, I know this is our very first episode, but this is pretty much what we're going to be talking about for the next six weeks or so. Really laying out practical strategies to help you do that, to reach that next level.
But look, none of those strategies are going to matter if you're sitting there thinking, ah, I don't really know if I want to do this. I think I'll just keep on making excuses. Nobody really says that, but sometimes that's the way we behave. Or you know, I think I'm good enough as a Christian right now, or I've got some things I need to work through first. If that's your mentality, then none of the strategies are going to help, but if you're somebody who says, wait, that's not what it means to be a Christian. What it means to be a Christian is I'm going to get better. Stop loathing your life, your choices, and what's happened to you and just get better. Remember the things we've talked about today. Now here's what I want to do as we get to the end of this. I want you to be thinking about a simple project.
I guess compared to some of the other projects we have planned in future episodes, this is kind of bulky, but if you'll take the time and do this, when you look back a month from now, you're going to be amazed at the results. So here we go. What I recommend is that you get a sheet of paper and a pencil, or maybe you pull up the notes section on your phone or something, and I'm going to ask you to make three simple lists. On each list just have four or five things on it. Okay? Here's the first list. The hardest one of all on the first list: list things in Christ in which you are getting better. You are already in the process of improving. If I looked at that list and said, hey man, that's awesome; tell me how you've been improving. You could say, boy, let me tell you what's been going on.
I've been getting more devoted to Bible reading or study or whatever. Make a list of five things where you're getting better. Now, look, it may be that you're looking at that blank piece of paper thinking, you know, I gotta be honest. I don't think I can write anything down. I'm not sure I have been getting better on anything. Well, that's, you know, that's part of the reason you're listening today so that we can get over that hump. But I'm here to tell you that a month from now you'll have a bunch of things to write down there, but if you have a few now and you really can monitor your progress, I think that's something to celebrate. So write that down if you can and if not, just leave those blanks because you'll be filling them in soon enough within just a few weeks. Okay. Here's a little bit of an easier list and one that everybody can do.
I want you to write down things in Christ you are already doing, but you want to get better. So these may be things in which you've just been holding on, just sort of plugging along with for a long time. Like, I read my Bible two days a week or I go to services one hour a week or I reach out and encourage somebody once a month or whatever. You can say, look, these are things that I am doing and that's great. That's a talent that the Lord has clearly put into your life. A gift that you have because you're already in some extent sort of working it in and using it. Now we're going to be talking about that because that's a list where we just want to get better. You might look at that list today and think, how can I do that a little bit better?
If I'm somebody who reads the Bible two days a week, how can I make that once a day? If I'm somebody who reads the Bible five hours a week or maybe less, how can I build on that and so whatever you've got there, look at that list and think, what would it look like if this got better? Because that's exactly what we're going to do with this program and that's exactly the kind of results you're going to get. And then you have one more list and this one's maybe a little bit painful, but it's really important for us. This is a list where you write down things in Christ you are not doing but should be doing. That's a really important thing to write down. Here are things that I know God wants me to do, things that I just haven't been doing.
You might write down things like being evangelistic. You think, I haven't handed out a card or invited anybody to church in a month, or done my bible lesson, or whatever. These are things where it's time to get started. And if you can look at that list and you know God wants you to do that and you can say, forget all of the excuses I've been giving, it's time to just get better and start incrementally. Just initiate something. Today. In the next episode we're going to talk about how you can really supercharge that opening and get things going, but it starts with resolve. I am resolved to get better and I will accept nothing less than growth. If you can adapt that mentality then the excel still more life lays out ahead of you and you're in for some marvelous, incredible results. So I hope those things help you get started today. And thank you so much for being with us here and just please remember the mantra of the week is very simple: Just Get Better.
Kris Emerson, a loving husband, father of four, and gospel preacher, takes a few minutes to go over some important life changing and spirituals insights.
- How to grow in your walk with God
- How to be a more faithful Christian
- How to be a more devoted parent
- How to be a more evangelic voice
- How to just get better