Who is the greatest person you’ve had the privilege of knowing? Not the most glamorous, but the greatest. You see, there’s a difference between glamor and greatness. Glamor impresses from a distance; greatness impacts up close. Glamor is on the outside; greatness is on the inside. Glamor draws attention to itself; greatness focuses attention on others.
All the marketing in our society emphasizes glamor as the ideal for us to pursue. But at a funeral, we talk about something very different as an indicator of life’s significance. We don’t talk about glamor, we talk about the ideals of greatness: friendship, tenderness, selflessness, sacrifice, generosity, care, faithfulness, love. And all those things have one thing in common: humility.
Here’s what’s amazing: this kind of true greatness we so admire in others is the very thing God intends to grow in us by His Spirit, conforming us to the image of Christ, that we might share in His glory and joy forever!
God intends to make us people of true greatness, people who are servant-hearted and humble just like Jesus.
That kind of greatness is the theme of Philippians 2:1-18. In this passage, we explore 4 key themes about God’s view of greatness:
- The Priority of Greatness: God desires a united family filled with humble love. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if our church lived like that? It would be a taste of heaven!
- The Model of True Greatness: Jesus calls each of us through the cross to glory. There is so much in us that needs to die in order that the true greatness of the life of Christ might come alive in us. But how do we do this?
- The Secret of True Greatness: The key to transformation lies in obedient surrender. We obey, but not in self-effort; it’s in active dependency and surrender to the Holy Spirit of God who is working in us. We surrender, but not passively, because we surrender to the leading and desires of the Spirit, yielding to His direction.
- The Beauty of True Greatness: Becoming truly great like Jesus means going against the flow. If we’re going to become truly great like Jesus, it’s going to mean going against the flow.
Takeaways: True greatness means becoming a servant of all.
Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. – Mark 10:42-45