I’ve asked a lot of people about their hopes and dreams, and I usually get unapologetic answers about their desires to be great at what they do. But when I ask believers if they want to be great Christians, them seem to be afraid to answer the question. They become unassuming and deferential, concerned that an ambition to be great in this most important aspect of life would seem arrogant. To talk about ambition in following Christ sounds like the opposite of humble spiritual maturity.
Luke 22 raises this very question. Near the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry, the disciples argued about which one of them was the greatest. Surprisingly, Jesus never rebuked them for their longing to be great. He gave them a completely new paradigm about what greatness is, but he didn’t condemn their desire.
So, what’s the alternative to greatness? Should we aspire to be mediocre Christians? Is it really prideful to want to honor God with lives of great faith and excellent work?
In truth, God loves it when His people are zealous about making a difference for His kingdom. We were designed to be great in God’s eyes. When He created humanity, He proclaimed us not just good, but “very good” (Gen 1:31). We exist for His glory. That kind of purpose isn’t served well by mediocrity or even by settling for simply being “good.” God eagerly looks over the landscape of this world to honor, empower, and strengthen those whose love and obedience bring Him pleasure. Our greatness – as He defines it – is His desire (2 Chronicles 16:9).
In Jim Collin’s bestselling book Good to Great, he examines the practices of companies that are a cut above the rest. After researching hundreds of businesses, Collins came up with a list of characteristics that distinguish great companies from good or mediocre ones. When I read this best-selling leadership book, I became fascinated by the idea that such a small handful of principles could have a transformational effect on success.
Over the next couple of weeks we’ll begin a new series called Good to Great in God’s Eyes. In it, we’ll examine ten key practices that great Christians have in common and discover ways to incorporate them into our life.
My prayer is that over the next few weeks you will gain a fresh perspective on what it looks like for you to be a truly great Christian in this New Year. I pray that 2011 will be unlike any other year for spiritual growth and joy as you fulfill God’s purposes for your life.
Praying God’s Best… and Keep Pressin’ Ahead,
Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip