Do You Desire To Be Great? Pursue This…

Do you desire honor and blessing? Do you desire to be great in the kingdom? Then pursue this heart attitude every day…

The world tells us to think highly of ourselves, to speak positively to ourselves, things like, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” But again and again, Scripture tells believers in Jesus to adapt a humble mindset, to “put on” humility, which doesn’t mean fake it, but do it, to be a servant. For example Colossians 3:12 says:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience…

The word for “humility” in this verse means lowliness of mind. It is a lowliness we realize as we compare ourselves to God’s greatness, holiness, and majesty, rather than comparing ourselves to others in order to look down on them and feel good about ourselves.

To put on humility means we remind ourselves to think like Christ and act like Christ and to consider our lowly state compared to Christ’s greatness and then act accordingly. God gives us several reasons we should seek a humble mindset and humble ourselves before God and others…

Because Jesus was humble-minded

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. … PHP 2.3-11

The king of the universe, God himself, had a humble mindset. Though he is the infinitely glorious and majestic, sovereign, all-knowing, almighty One, his mindset was to look to the interest of others, to look to our eternal interests and to empty himself, to make himself “nothing,” a servant of all, who would give his life to redeem us.

If this was the “mind” of Christ, we should seek to have this mind, as God’s word commands us.

Because Jesus tells us the way to greatness in God’s kingdom is to take low road

A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves. LK 22.24-27

The kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom. In God’s kingdom, the way up is down. The way to greatness is to pursue humility. To seek to be the biggest servant in the house. It’s not wrong to want to be great in the kingdom. But to get there we must seek to be greatest servant.

Because God opposes the proud

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

The most fearful reason to hate pride and seek to kill it is because God himself opposes the proud. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God opposing me. For if God opposes me, there’s no hope. No other outcome but disaster.

One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. PR 29:23

Over and over, Scripture tells us pride will bring us low. Pride will trip us up, and lay us in the dust, bring dishonor upon us. But again and again God tells us that the humble will obtain honor. Which do you desire – to be brought low or to obtain honor?

Because God gives grace to the humble

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

God’s grace is his power and strength and help in time of need (Heb 4.16). Proud people don’t seek God’s grace, but try to overcome things in their own strength, navigate by their own wits. I need and want more and more of God’s grace. And the way to get it is by seeking to kill pride and pursuing humility.

Because if we humble ourselves, God will exalt us

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” LK 14.11

When we’re proud and seek to exalt ourselves, promote ourselves, win the admiration and praise of others, God humbles us. He brings us low. As Jesus said, when you’re at a feast take the lowest seat so the host can invite you to move up higher, as opposed to taking the number one seat and being asked to move lower. I don’t know about you, but I would rather humble myself than make God have to do it.

Because God gives wisdom to the humble

When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. PR 11.2

When we’re proud, we don’t listen to anyone. We’re right. We have the most accurate interpretation of things. And those attitudes lead to disgrace. When we don’t listen to others, we’re headed for humiliation. But when we are humble and seek God, and listen to others, and are not confident that our opinion is best, God gives us wisdom, and wisdom spares us disgrace, humiliation and misery.

Because God hears the prayers of the humble

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 CH 7.14

Why is it we’re so slow to pray when we’re in trouble? Because we are naturally self-sufficient and self-reliant. God often has to put us into desperate situations to remind us how much we need him.

Because God leads and guides those who are humble

He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way. PS 25.9

Do you want to know the right thing to do in any situation? Do you want God to teach you his “way”? Pursue humility. God promises to lead the humble in “what is right” – to show us what would be the most God-honoring way to act. He teaches us his way, and gives us his very own wisdom and direction.

Because pride leads to strife and division, whereas humility leads to harmony and unity

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. GA 5.26

When we’re conceited or proud, we wind up provoking and envying one another, which leads to disunity and strife. But when we’re humble toward one another it leads to love and harmony:

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts,kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. CO 3.12-14

Pursue greatness today. Humble yourself and let God exalt you in his timing. Look to the interests of others and God will be sure to look to your interests. And remember, the easiest way to cultivate humility is compare yourself, a lowly sinner whom Jesus redeemed because he had the ultimate lowliness of mind, to God in all his majesty, holiness, wisdom, power, goodness and love.

Mark Altrogge

I’m a pastor at Saving Grace Church in Indiana, PA. I’m married to Kristi, have 5 kids, and a growing number of grandkids. I enjoy songwriting, oil painting and coffee, not necessarily in that order.