Tag Archives: being great

Practicing Greatness

Who is the greatest person you know personally? Who do you think is the greatest person alive right now? I’m not looking for the Sunday School answer of Jesus either. What makes those people great in your eyes? I’m sure every person reading this would probably have a different answer. Some people are raised with greatness as the goal and standard for living. Others feel it’s not right to seek greatness. I’m of the persuasion that each of us should seek greatness in our lives. One of the first lines in the book “Good to Great” is a quote I remind myself of often. The author, Jim Collins wrote, “Good is the enemy of great.”

One day, as the disciples were all sitting around, a discussion broke out about who was the greatest and who would be the greatest in the kingdom of Heaven. When they couldn’t resolve it, they asked Jesus. I love that He didn’t rebuke them for wanting to be great. He simply redefined for them what greatness meant. In Matthew 18:3-4 Jesus said, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless you repent [that is, change your inner self—your old way of thinking, live changed lives] and become like children [trusting, humble, and forgiving], you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (AMP).

Going back to my first question, is the greatest person you know humble? Heaven’s definition of greatness begins with humility and includes trusting God and being able to forgive others. That kind of greatness is something we should all be striving for in our lives. It’s not easy. Being great never is. That why you may have struggled to come up with names at the beginning. There are very few people whom we consider great, yet we need to strive for greatness by God’s definition more than the world’s. You were created with greatness in you. It starts with trusting God’s plan for your life, receiving His grace and forgiving those who have wronged you. Go practice greatness today.

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Being Great

One of the best Christian books I’ve read is “Good to Great In God’s Eyes” by Chip Ingram. It starts off asking the question, “Is it really wrong to want to be great?” As a Christian, we’re taught to be humble, but somehow we’ve equated being humble with being average. It’s as if you can’t be great and humble at the same time. I don’t want to live an average life, and I don’t believe we were created to either. The words from Jim Collins book, “Good to Great”, spoke to my soul when he wrote, “Good is the enemy of great.” How often do we settle for good when God has created us for great things? How often have we felt ashamed for wanting to be great?

When the disciples asked Jesus about who would be the greatest, He didn’t chastise them. He simply explained that greatness in His kingdom isn’t measured the same way it is in our world. He put the desire in you to be great, and even gave us the Great Commission as our mission. You can’t have the impact on the world that you’re called to have and not be great. The difference is that in His kingdom, greatness comes from serving others and helping them reach their God-given potential. It’s about magnifying His name instead of our own. If you truly want to be great in God’s kingdom, then you’re going to have to be disciplined and do things that make an impact on eternity.

Here are some Bible verses on being great in God’s kingdom.

1. So whoever breaks one of the least [important] of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least [important] in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever practices and teaches them, he will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19 AMP

2. But this is not your calling. You will lead by a completely different model. The greatest one among you will live as the one who is called to serve others, because the greatest honor and authority is reserved for the one with the heart of a servant.

Matthew 20:26-27 TPT

3. Whoever makes himself great will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be made great.

Matthew 23:12 GNT

4. The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest. He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”

Mark 9:34-35 MSG

5. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

Matthew 19:30 NLT

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Being Great

In sports, there are always arguments over who is the greatest of all time. In football, the question is if Tom Brady is greater than Joe Montana. In basketball, it’s if LeBron James is greater than Michael Jordan. There’s even debate over who the single greatest sports figure is across all sports. People will always have opinions and will argue over who the greatest is when it comes to sports or just about anything really. I believe it’s because God put something in us that wants to be great and fights against mediocrity.

Even the disciples argued over who was the greatest. Luke 9:46 says, “An argument broke out among the disciples as to which one of them was the greatest” (GNT). I can hear their arguments now. John probably said, “I’m the greatest because He loves me most.” Peter argued, “But I walked on water!” What’s funny is you don’t hear Jesus rebuke them for wanting to be great. Instead, He says, “For the one who is least among all of you [that is, the one who is genuinely humble–the one with a realistic self-view]– he is the one who is [truly] great” (AMP).

Jesus’ desire is that each of us would be great, and He told us how. In God’s Kingdom, the greatest isn’t the person who wins the most souls, heals the most people, has the most famous ministry or goes to third world countries. To be great is to be humble and to serve others. It’s understanding who we are on Christ and that we are only great through Him. He is the potter and we are the clay. If you want to be great, then let Him do what He wants with your life. Your greatest potential lies in being who He created you to be.

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Humble Leadership

I’ve seen a few different types of leaders. One type of leader is too good to do anything. They’ve risen through the ranks and paid their dues, so they feel there are certain things they shouldn’t have to do any more. Another leader feels that no matter how high up the totem pole they get, there is no job beneath them. They feel like it’s their duty to know the way, show the way and go the way. If they’re going to ask someone to do something, they should be willing to do it as well.

We read in the Bible where the disciples argued over who was the greatest. What they were asking was, “Besides Jesus, who’s the leader of this group?” Jesus didn’t get onto them for asking the question. He simply stated God’s idea of what leadership is in His Kingdom. You can be a leader and be humble at the same time. Humility is not saying others are better than you, it’s saying that nothing is beneath you. If you want to be a great leader, especially in God’s Kingdom, then learn to be humble.

Here’s some verses on humble leadership.

1. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.”

Luke 22:25-26 NLT

2. Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself. He had equal status with God but didn’t think so much of himself that he had to cling to the advantages of that status no matter what. Not at all. When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.

Philippians 2:5-8 MSG

3. So when He had washed their feet and put on His [outer] robe and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you understand what I have done for you? You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you are right in doing so, for that is who I am. So if I, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you ought to wash one another’s feet as well. For I gave you [this as] an example, so that you should do [in turn] as I did to you. I assure you and most solemnly say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him.”

JOHN 13:12-16 AMP

4. In the same way you younger people must submit yourselves to your elders. And all of you must put on the apron of humility, to serve one another; for the scripture says, “God resists the proud, but shows favor to the humble.” Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.

1 Peter 5:5-6 GNT

5. God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.

1 Peter 4:10 NLT

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Free From Self Criticism

It’s Free Friday! What are you going to be free from today? The choice is yours to let it go. To celebrate Free Friday, I’m giving away a free copy of Steven Furtick’s book “Greater”. Keep reading to find out how to enter.

Most of the time, I’m my own worst enemy. Certainly I’m my own worst critic. I see and know all my flaws better than anyone. I do my best to cover them up so no one else sees them, but I know they’re still there. I use them as excuses to keep myself from doing greater things. I allow them to hold me back from who I was created to be. When I look in the mirror, they stare back at me and remind me that I’m a deeply flawed individual and am incapable of doing the things that I’m called to do. This cycle of self doubt perpetuates itself in my mind to the point that it blocks out the call from God.

Moses felt the same way. I always read the early chapters of Exodus and though he was making excuses as to why God couldn’t use him. In reality, I think it was self doubt and self criticism that was rearing it’s ugly head. When God asked him to do something greater, those insecurities and flaws that he saw in his own life reminded him of his inabilities. I don’t think he was trying to make excuses to get out of doing what God called him to, but rather he was telling God, “You’ve go the wrong person. I have so many flaws. How could you possibly use me? Remember how bad I messed up before?”

Whatever our flaws are and no matter how bad our past is, we can’t let the enemy use those to keep us from being and doing something great. Steven Furtick refers to this side of him as his “lesser loser life”. He said in chapter 2 of the book “Greater”, “I find over and over again that my greatest enemy of the greater life God has for me is…me.” Each one of us have this voice in our head that constantly tells us, “You can’t. You’re not enough. God can’t use you.” On and on it goes with all the things that are wrong with you. Relentlessly it attacks your mind to get you to believe that you’re not enough.

Today, it’s time to free yourself of that voice. You are God’s unique creation and were designed by Him to be great and to do greater things. The way I combat that voice is with scripture and by claiming who I am in Christ. When it says I can’t, I tell it, “I can do all things through Christ.” When it says God can’t use me because of my past, I say, “I’ve been forgive, it’s been forgotten and I’ve been redeemed.” When it says that no one will listen, I say, “I’m just the messenger. The message is His. My job is to speak it and His job is to open ears and minds.” I focus on what I can do and not what I can’t. I recognize what is my responsibility and what is God’s. He doesn’t ask me to do what only He can do. He asks me to do what only I can do.

What does that voice say to you that keeps you from being great? It’s time to set yourself free and what better day than Friday! Don’t listen to it. Shut it up and replace it with who God says you are. You are more than enough to do what God asks of you. You can and will do greater things through Christ. Don’t let your flaws become an excuse. Instead let God use them for His glory in a way that only He can do. God doesn’t make mistakes. Your life, your past and your flaws are not mistakes, but rather they are the exact things God needs in your life to accomplish what only you can do. It’s time to free yourself from self criticism and to do greater things.

To win Steven Furtick’s book “Greater”, simply go to my Facebook page and share any of today’s statuses. Everyone who shares a Facebook status by 11:59 PM, November 8th, 2013, will be entered into a drawing to win this life changing book. I’ll draw a name tomorrow, November 9th, and post the winner on my Facebook page.

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