Job writes in 37:23: “Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: He is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: He will not afflict.”
   
Everything about Jesus Christ and His Father is excellent. David writes in Psalm 8 that God’s name is such: “O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!” (verses 1 and 9).
   
Excellence is truly noble, and our pursuit to apprehend it will enrich and ennoble our earthly lives. The Apostle Paul writes in chapter three to Christians at Philippi: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus” (verse 12). To finally catch ahold of all the things of God is impossible, but the child of God is wise to be in their pursuit. Paul writes in Philippians 3:13: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before.”
   
Excellence is always in front of us. The quest for it gives an expectation for growth. The Christian faith should be a lifelong development of learning, giving and growing. 

For the twice-born child of God, it is an adventure, a challenge, a spiritual journey. Therein grows the understanding that the final destination will be excellent because: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). We are to live by faith that God will take care of us without fail, in a way that our hearts cannot possibly realize.
   
The world in which we live also offers a lifestyle that seems to be noble and fair. We hear the word “equality”  in the media quite often, with its supposed intent of justice and neutrality. Noah Webster gives more than 11 aspects of the root word “equal” in his 1828 “Dictionary of the English Language,” some of which list the “sameness of value, degree, terms or rank.” Equality implies uniformity, sameness and evenness. To be equalized is to be “reduced to equality,” according to Webster. It carries the intent to be neutral, impartial, indifferent and unbiased.
   
The noble-sounding word “equality” is one that can be anything but noble when it is broad-brushed over the panorama of a vast society. We have seen this good word “equality” used in ways that roll it onto its top and actually knock the wheels out from under its integrity. The child of God is obviously to value human life as Christ did, and there is absolutely no room
for racism or demeaning others of a different age, gender or ability.
   
As opposed to the way God thinks, man has his own emphasis on equality. The humanist “thinker” in all of us would like to use this word to our own personal luxury. It appeals to our flesh to think that we are all winners, and we don’t even have to try! No effort will have to be exerted because we are so entitled to the guarantee of our right to equality, and so it goes.
   
The trend that carries the equality-minded along downstream is one of downgrading and reduction. Like the newly condensed droplet of pure water coming out of the sky, the wrong message of equality can transport us to the muddy ditch, the dirty creek and down to the same lowest level at the mouth of the river. The leveling process will carry downward and not upward. The race for humanity is for Heaven and not against one another.
   
The emphasis of “equality” can be harmful if not held in a God-honoring context. It will decrease and pull downward and can become a disincentive to make the most of our lives. Philosophers and human “engineers” like Karl Marx have been successful in degrading societies to quagmires of anti-attainment and pro-dependency.
   
The lottery system thrives on the “something for nothing” concept.
   
The kind of nothingness engendered will slow down, inhibit and encourage the least and lowest from each of us. It is idlesome and troublesome and becomes yet another excuse to get and receive benefits from others without our exertion.
   
The wrong kind of equality is hollow, bland and self-absorbing. It is passive, unproductive and irresponsible. Waiting on others to fill a need that God gave me the ability to take care of is an affront to Him. It fosters arrogance, presumption and petty jealousies.
   
The wrong use of entitlement for the sake of equality is socialistic and dangerous. It leads to encouragement and despair and is damaging to one’s God-given potential. The irresponsible mindset brought about therein can infect us spiritually to where we are able to justify our sins and reason that we do not need salvation or a Savior. The nothingness of equality is a dead-end street. To quench its thirst is hopeless and devoid of true satisfaction.
   
The pursuit of Godly excellence is quite another purpose. It is life-giving and constantly ascending. Herein, we accept the frailty of reality and resolve to more ahead with Christ. In Him, we are able to overcome, be forgiven, really prosper and then pour that prosperity into the cups of others’ lives.
   
Equality can never be wrought by judges or legislators and cannot be successfully realized from those around us. On the other hand, the nobility of excellence is a personal choice – something about which we can certainly strive to apprehend.
   
Excellence is a Godly virtue, the pursuit of which will never disappoint or depress. It is an adventure that seeks to give and encourages freedom to be what the Creator had in mind. In that, we can find satisfaction and rest.
   
Paul challenges us with excellence when he writes in Philippians 3:14: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Go for it!
   
R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.