Years ago, I read Presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter's autobiography, Why not the Best. The title for the book went back to the dreaded mandatory interview Carter had with Admiral Hyman Rickover prior to being accepted into the officer corp of the US Navy's nuclear submarine fleet. After the Admiral asked Carter if he had always done his best, his follow-up question (after Carter's admission of "no") was "why not?" This became the title of Carter's life-story up to the point of his quest for the presidency.
This conversation identifies a salient issue in our world today. Are we accustomed to consistently doing our best, or do we simply want to get by? I am amazed at how often people settle for mediocrity.
When Jesus was asked about the greatest commandment, He answered that it was to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself." Normative here is the word "all." Whole-hearted devotion, whole-hearted commitment, and whole-hearted discipline mark the person who consistently performs at an excellence level.
One reason I wrote Lectures from the Gates of Hell was to help believers understand that doing one's best will generate considerable opposition from a determined adversary. To you I say, do your best! God rewards the faithful. And should we not continuously look to Jesus who was a living demonstration of continuously doing His best even to the point of death on the cross?