A Spirit of Excellence Opens the Door to God’s Glory

There’s more about the Daniel of the “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” story in the Bible that we’ve all heard many times. When I heard about the spirit of excellence in his life it changed the way I want to live! I’ve even taught it to my boys, and I have seen it in them at times.

Let me share an example. It was past time for the baby to eat, and her loud crying let the whole neighborhood know. She gobbled up the few bites I quickly spoon fed her in my rush. I was also juggling my three-year-old, cooking, and trying to help get my oldest son out the door for an event. I needed to dart outside for a moment to talk to my husband before he left to drive my son to the event. The baby would have to be content with her cup. After a few minutes, I came back into the room and realized I needed to help the three-year-old in the bathroom. It was quiet. I glanced over at the baby as I rushed over to the bathroom with him, and breathed a sigh of relief. My second oldest son had grabbed the baby spoon and was patiently feeding a content baby. He saw the need and stepped in to help without being asked. He could have avoided the whole ordeal, since her dinner was plain yogurt that night and the smell made him nauseous. But he didn’t. I saw a spirit of excellence in my son that night!

Have you ever noticed the bolded words in these verses?

because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel… Daniel 5:12a ESV

Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Daniel 6:3 ESV

When Jehoiakim, king of Judah was reigning, he was overthrown by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Daniel was taken when the king demanded some of those of Israel who were competent enough to be trained to stand in his palace. When a king would win a battle, he would take the best spoils from the defeated. King Nebuchadnezzar took the people who had the best potential to be trained as part of the spoils.

I couldn’t imagine being in Daniel’s shoes. He was taken from his home and family, and thrown into the enemy’s hands to be trained up as one of them! He was to learn their literature and language, to eat their food and drink, and his name was even changed! It was as if the king wanted his new prisoners identity to be erased and rewritten. What a difficult circumstance! I think I would have crumbled into a sorrowful heap and given up!

Daniel 6:3 an excellent spirit

But Daniel was set apart from the rest because of what was in him—an excellent spirit. It wasn’t just his ability, skillfulness, or good looks. Those aren’t necessarily excellence. Excellence is a spirit.

It’s not the same as the performance-based mindset of perfectionism, which is like being on a hamster wheel. You become tired working hard, but not getting anywhere. God doesn’t get glorified in that.

When Daniel was called on to interpret the impossible, he didn’t say, “Yeah, I have the wisdom and insight because I’m awesome!” Instead, he boasted in God alone. He didn’t bring glory to himself because he wanted God to get the credit. The spirit of excellence in Daniel’s life opened the door for God to receive the glory!

Having a spirit of excellence comes from a conviction that:

  • God is great, and so you want whatever you do to be great—because you are a reflection of Him.
  • You want to give your best to God, while always improving on that. It’s doing so while in and out of your house, no matter who is or isn’t looking.
  • God is the one who gives favor and giftings, and we have a responsibility to steward those things well.
  • Those in authority must be honored (unless they demand you sin against God).

Having a spirit of excellence comes from a conviction that God is great! [Tweet this]


Kela NellumsJoin me at my friend, Kela Nellum’s, and let me share with you an exciting pattern I learned while studying the first 6 books of Daniel. Click here to discover 4 Results of Having a Spirit of Excellence. You are not going to want to miss this!


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*This post may be linked with RaRaLinkup, TellHisStory, HeartEncouragementThursdayFreshMarketFridayGrace&Truth, and more.


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21 thoughts on “A Spirit of Excellence Opens the Door to God’s Glory

  1. Pingback: 4 Results of Having a Spirit of Excellence – Pursuing What Is Excellent

  2. Great encouragement, Kelly. I sometimes forget that I don’t have to be skilled at something in order to do it with excellence. It’s about the motive and being faithful, not about the outcome.

    • I’m glad it was encouraging, Shannon! When I read your comment, a story popped in my head. One Sunday morning I was setting up one of the children’s classes, and I was training some new teachers who were watching me. I got almost done, and referred to a couple of things I didn’t set up quite right, and said, “It’s good enough!” One of the teachers in training looked at me and asked, “It’s good enough, huh?” Right then I felt convicted, and the Holy Spirit showed me I was not having a spirit of excellence. Sadly I walked away from it that morning, and I have remembered that story ever since. I hope to not make the same kind of choice in the future. I’ve learned it’s something I can grow in!

  3. Kelly, I’ve not thought about Daniel’s spirit of excellence. So.so.good. I’m going to share this with my teen daughter. It’s right up the alley of a discussion we held last night. Thanks for sharing as well as your visit to http://www.KristiWoods.net. Blessings!

  4. This is so cool Kelly. I was just reading this part of Daniel today. I love that “spirit of excellence.” May we always strive to live that way in God’s strength. So neat to read your son stepping up when needed. I might have run for cover in my old days;) Thanks for sharing this poignant reminder. Have a fantastic weekend and blessings to you and yours.

    • Horace, thanks so much for your visit and comment. I pray we can strive to live this way in God’s strength, too. I’m all for living in a way that He might be glorified! Many blessings to you!

  5. What a great observation on the life of Daniel. And we have that same spirit of excellence within us, because the Holy Spirit dwells in us to help and teach us.

    Blessings to you, Kelly! I’m your neighbor at #Grace&Truth

    • Hi, Gayl. I think we all have the same spirit of excellence within us, but we don’t all walk in it. Willingness is key to many changes the Holy Spirit can make in us. I pray we are all willing and yield to Him as He shows us how we can live for His glory. Blessings to you as well!

  6. There is so much we can learn from Daniel’s life. Several months ago, while reading in Daniel, I jotted down the words “an excellent spirit” so I could study on them. Now I’m reading this and thought, I really need to do this sooner than later. Thanks, Kelly! Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

  7. This is such an encouragement, especially during this busy time of year to strive for a spirit of excellence. I often get caught up in my busy days and forget that my purpose is to glorify God first and foremost. Thank you!

  8. Pingback: The Living Nativity Speaks | KellyRBaker

  9. Pingback: Day 33: Are You Going Around the Mountain Again? | KellyRBaker

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