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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.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

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Great for God

I love Nike’s new “Greatness” commercials. For years they have had commercials featuring the best athletes in the world. Now, their commercials feature everyday looking people who overweight, short or not athletic. They are saying that greatness isn’t reserved for a chosen few. We all have the ability to be great, even if it’s just greater than we were.

You and I have the ability to be great for God’s Kingdom. Even if we never become as famous as Billy Graham, it doesn’t mean we can’t do great things for God. Jesus said to be greatest in His Kingdom, we had to be the least. It starts with humility because to be great recognizes that we can’t do it on our own. It is God who works through us. There is more to being great though. I’ve found that physical disciplines often translate to spiritual disciplines and greatness is one of those that translates.

Here are three things required to be great for God.

1. Time

No one ever became great at anything without putting in lots of time. Jesus asked the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Can’t you just spend one hour with me?” He knew that to do what He needed them to do, they needed to put in quality time. Today, for most of us, Jesus would love it if we just spent 10 minutes with Him.

D.L. Moody used to spend 8 hours a day in prayer. He recognized that to be a great minister, he had to spend time with God. When you spend time with someone, you get to know them. To know God’s heart and what His desire is, you will have to spend time with Him. If you want to be great for God, you will have to put in lots of time in prayer.

2. Pain

We’ve all heard the phrase “no pain, no gain” which is why most of us stay out of the gym. We don’t want to go through the pain to get our body in shape. We don’t want to break a sweat, but we want to get the results of it. If being fit were easy, we’d all do it. Greatness requires you to go through some pain and sweat.

Anyone who ever did anything great for God went through times of intense pain. Those times of pain and struggling temper you and prepare you. They allow you to connect with others and help you to endure in tougher times that may be coming. Great people often attribute their greatness to enduring times of hardship and pain. It’s in those times that we find out what we’re made of and who we are.

3. Faithfulness

Greatness starts with faithfulness. You have to be committed to continuing the course even when you don’t feel like it. You have to keep the end in mind and take things one step at a time. You don’t get to the Olympics by showing up there. You have to compete in small tournaments. When you’re successful, you move up to larger ones until you make it.

Jesus said that when we’ve been faithful over a few things, He will make us faithful over many. Most of us want to start with many and work our way up from there. That’s not God’s plan. Be faithful where you are right now to those that God has entrusted to you. When you spend time there, go through the growing pains and prove your faithfulness, He will take you to that next level of greatness.

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