I have numerous apps on my phone, my tablet, and my computer. Some of them are extremely helpful for managing my schedule and doing work effectively. Others are a colossal waste of time (but so much fun). But they all begin with the premise that they will make my life easier, better, and more entertaining. Apps offer a shortcut to achieving my goals. At least, that is what they seem to promise.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if there were an app for greatness? One that actually made it possible to find a shortcut to achieving your goals and becoming the person you want to be? Unfortunately there is no shortcut to greatness in your life.
We use the word “great” to the extent that it loses its power. “That was a great pizza.” That was a “great” game. That was a “great” video of a dancing cat. Greatness, however, is found in living life the way God intended. We are to pursue greatness through our great Savior. We all have varying degrees of talent and all will find subjective levels of success. But greatness can only be achieved through a dynamic relationship with the living Christ. You can be a “great” parent, spouse, athlete, student, employee, business owner, or politician and still not achieve the greatness God has for you. As Jesus so shrewdly asked, “What does it matter if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”
Solomon wrote a powerful proverb that addresses one of the keys to greatness and achieving your goals. “Those who trust their own insight are foolish, but anyone who walks in wisdom is safe.” (Proverbs 28:26 NLT) At first glance this doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Surely if you trust your own insight that would equal wisdom, wouldn’t it? After all, our experiences form our view of the world. We see what we see. We know what we know because of our own circumstances, practices, and skills. But when you really understand what he is saying it opens your mind for the real pathway to greatness. Wisdom in Proverbs is equated with trusting God. Foolishness is equated with rejecting God’s truth and walking by your own insights. So those who trust what they know, what they can see, what they have experienced, and what they have learned from the harsh realities of life live foolishly. Why? Because God knows more, sees, more, and has greater plans than we do. When we trust him rather than ourselves we live in his wisdom.
Jesus, the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and the Heavenly Father give us truth. The enemy, or Satan, is a liar and the father of lies. He seeks to deceive us and make us live by the lies we see or experience. In other words, he seeks to get us to trust our own experiences, our own talents, and our own knowledge rather than the truth that sets us free. He is pretty good at it too. But what is necessary for us to live the kind of life God intends for us is to live in God’s truth every day. When you begin to live in his wisdom he will slowly but surely transform your mind.
Here are three principles that will help transform your thinking.
1. Greatness comes from trusting God more than experience.
The truth is that your experiences can lie to you. You have failed in the past but God can empower you to be different. You have been told that you were an accident, not good enough, not smart enough, or too ugly to amount to anything. God has said that you are his child, a priest-king, a conqueror, forgiven, justified, redeemed, and that you have been given every promise that was made to Jesus Christ. You have been told that you have limited resources but God has promised that all of his resources have been made available to you. Walking in your own insight truly is foolish when God has promised so much more.
2. Greatness comes from trusting what God sees more than what I see.
You and I have limited ability to see. We can only see what happens right now. We can only see what is immediately around us. But God sees all and knows all. He has already written the ending of our story. The good news is that Jesus wins and we win along with him. Don’t be blinded by your limited vision. Trust in what God sees. King David wrote that God’s word is like a light that shines and lights up our path. You don’t have to be able to see beyond your path. God sees it for you. When I drive home in the dark I don’t have to be afraid because my headlights don’t shine far enough to see my house. I just have to keep driving to the end of the light. Eventually I will get there if I keep driving to the end of the light.
3. Greatness comes from understanding that my gifts are not about me.
One of the greatest lies the enemy will tell you is that your life is about you. He tells us that success, greatness, and fulfillment come when we spend all our time, treasure, and talent on ourselves. But true greatness comes when we realize that our lives are not about us. Great lives are about others. You can have a great career, a great house, and great experiences and never achieve greatness unless you learn that we serve God by serving others. Serving and giving make life worth living.
There is no app for greatness but there are steps to living the kind of life God intends for you. Start living in wisdom today. Trust God rather than yourself. Before long you will find yourself living a life of significance.