Today’s guest post is written by Jan Harrison, author of Life After the Storm: God Will Carry You Through, speaker, and Bible study teacher who has inspired thousands of women for over 15 years. She and her husband, Frank, have three grown daughters and reside in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Lent is the 40 days before Easter when we prepare our heart to receive the joyous reality of Christ’s resurrection power by reflecting on his life and death. In sincere and genuine reflection, I find myself under conviction. God’s firm but gentle hand is leading me to look into the mirror of his word.
Will you join me in your heart and pray with me?
Lord Jesus, When I look into the mirror of your word I see selfish, self- centered, self-protecting me. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I’ve neglected your example and failed to practice what you taught when you washed your disciples’ feet. Show me what it looks like in my life to genuinely serve others as you did. In your name I pray, Amen.
Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be a slave to all.” (Mark 10:44-45).
To be perfectly honest, I would like to be great for God. I genuinely desire to live my life with eternal purpose and to bring glory and honor to his great name. My challenge is to remember whose voice I allow to define the meaning of ‘great’.
Greatness is usually defined in terms of numbers of people who follow, like, listen, and talk about us favorably. This world measures greatness by the number of people who serve you. We like to be catered to and taken care of. We gladly pay for people to serve us. Maybe one reason Jesus was rejected by the Jews and religious leaders, and by people today, is because he came as a suffering servant. Born in a manger, trained as a carpenter, roamed the countryside with unprofessional, unlearned men and misfits in society—hardly the resume of a ‘great’ man. Read Jesus’ words and you will find ‘greatness’, according to his standard, rearranges everything you ever heard.
“I am among you as the one who serves,” (Luke 22:27).
Greatness for God didn’t just happen, not even for Jesus. Read the words from Philippians 2: 5-8, and see how Jesus became great:
“Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond servant, and being made in the likeness of man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.”
Jesus emptied himself of glorious heavenly perfection.
Jesus humbled himself and willingly became a bond-servant. The king of glory stooped low to assume the position of a slave.
Jesus obeyed the Father’s requirement of death on a cross to atone for sin. He laid down his perfect, sinless life on a painful, shameful cross to pick up and pay for my sin and shame.
As I reflect on the price for greatness with God I have to ask myself, “Am I willing to take the same steps required of Jesus?”
1. Empty myself and hold nothing for myself? Paul said it this way, “Whatever things were gain to me, and those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ,” (Philippians 3:7).
2. Humble myself, bow low and stay there everyday, in every circumstance? “He gives grace to the humble,” (James 4:6).
3. Become obedient and discipline myself under the Word where the will of God is revealed and respond with obedience? “Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,” (I Samuel 15:22).
4. Suffer willingly and allow my suffering to be used to bless others? “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His suffering, becoming like Him in His death, and so, somehow to attain the resurrection of the dead,” (Philippians 3:10).
How serious are we about being great for God? Crowded into the upper room to eat the Last Supper, the disciples got into a dispute about who would be the greatest. Patient Jesus gave them a demonstration of greatness instead of a lecture. Without introduction or fanfare, he got up from the table, took off his outer garments, and tied a towel around his waist. He moved quietly around the table where they reclined and washed his disciple’s feet. Emptying himself, humbling himself, obeying his Father, suffering for others, just as he had done everyday of his life on earth. When finished he said,
“For I gave you an example that you should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, neither is one who is sent, greater than one who sent him,” (John 13:15-16).
What do you consider to be gains in your life? I would call these the things we consider to give us a “leg up” in life. Some possibilities could be your heritage, spirituality, education, a talent, career, family, social position, reputation, influence? Would you consider them all as loss, and be willing to empty yourself of them in order to genuinely serve in the name of Christ?
It’s time to do more than reflect. It’s time to repent. Using these prompts as I did, allow the Spirit to redefine greatness. [Click to tweet!]