This word speaks of abundance, importance, influence and power.
“No one can comprehend His greatness” (Ps 145:3). “Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised” (1 Chr 16:25; Ps 48:1). There are no greater commands by which we are to live than love God with our whole being and our neighbour as ourselves (Mk 12:30,31). The greatest demonstration of love the world has ever seen is Jesus giving His life for us (Jn 3:16, 15:13; Rom 5:8). Paul prayed for his readers, “…that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know…His incomparable great power for us who believe” (Eph 1:18,19). Peter says, God has given us great promises and has fulfilled them to us (2 Pet 1:4).
It is vital to maintain the true perspective – He is omnipotent (all-powerful). Without Him I can do nothing of lasting value so keeping my eyes on the greatness of God helps me evaluate myself properly (Jn 15:4,5).
God is not opposed to greatness, but He is to pride and the arrogance of those who say, ‘my hand has gained the victory’. Self-exaltation is a dangerous place for “Pride goes before a fall” as experienced by King Nebuchadnezzar. He arrogantly thought he was the greatest when he said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” (Prov 16:18; Dan 4:30-37). After seven years of being humbled, he acknowledged and praised God, the kingdom was restored to him and he “became even greater than before”. If we have attained a place of prominence in any area of life give Him the credit (besides those who helped you get there) and walk in humble dependence as “It’s not by [our] might or by [human] power but by my Spirit, says the Lord” that anything of lasting value is accomplished (Deut 8:18; Zech 4:6; Jn 19:10,11; 1 Pet 4:11, 5:5). It is only by God’s grace I am what I am (1 Cor 15:10). We have been entrusted with the Lord’s favour, not for personal gratification rather for the blessing of our fellow man. The rich fool was selfish, concerned only about himself, and so forfeited all (Lk 12:16-21). David acknowledged it was God that had blessed and made him great (Ps 18:35).
The world considers personal achievement (success, wealth, power, prestige) as greatness, however in God’s Kingdom, faithfulness, a servant attitude, integrity, purity of heart, devotion and obedience to Him are what makes people truly great, and this greatness endures through eternity.
Being great in God’s eyes is not the same in the world’s view
It was said that John the Baptist would be great in God’s sight because He would fulfill his divinely appointed mission in life (Lk 1:15-17). This forerunner to Christ said, “One far greater than me is coming, I must decrease and Jesus increase” (Jn 1:30, 3:30). John didn’t claim to be great – in humility he turned the attention away from himself to Jesus. Even Jesus, the greatest person to have set foot in this world, came not to be served and have His needs met by others, rather He came to serve and bless humanity attending to the desperate spiritual condition of His creation – humanity doomed to everlasting damnation (Mk 10:45). The principles by which His Kingdom operates are the total opposite of the world’s way of continually elevating self; “The greatest among you will be your servant…The least among you is the greatest” – focusing on and lifting others up (Mt 23:11; Lk 9:48). Our caring for others should include those who can’t return the kindness shown – this is true greatness and valid generosity especially if done anonymously (Mt 6:1-4; Lk 14:12-14). We miss opportunities to ‘minister to the Lord’ disguised in the insignificant, the weak, helpless and disadvantaged (Mt 25:34-46). In fact the Bible declares God is well pleased with good works shown to the hurting vulnerable people of society (Jas 1:27).
To accomplish great tasks God often uses simple objects and people who are humble, available and rely upon Him, allowing Him to impact humanity through them (eg Moses rod, Ex 4:2-4; 1 Cor 1:26-29; 2 Cor 12:9). God said to Abraham, “I will bless you, and make your name great” (Gen 12:2). To David He said, “…I will make you a great name, like the names of the great men who are on the earth” (2 Sam 7:9).
In Christ, everyone has the potential to do great things as they walk in humble obedience, yet none is greater than controlling our spirit (Prov 16:32; Mk 16:15-18). Greatness is maximizing your potential for the glory of God and the benefit of others. Jesus said, “Greater things we would do than He did” (Jn 14:12). He did not view greatness as a sin to be avoided, but rather directs a proper relating to its source [God] and the outworking of it for the benefit of others and the extending the Kingdom of God.
To combat the enemy attacks in our weak areas we must continually focus on the Lord who is within us and is greater and more powerful than anything that would come against us (1 Jn 4:4). It is also essential to know our vulnerable spots, and guard them vigilantly so our character and ministry are not severely damaged or destroyed.
See also: accountability, authority, glory, humility, important, motive/motivation, omnipotent, power, pride, strength, temptation, weakness.