The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. 1 Timothy 6:10
I'm concerned about the impact of materialism on families today. During the Great Depression, it was easy enough for parents to tell
We live during an era that is attempting to redefine what the greatness of manhood looks like. Our boys and girls live in a state of gender confusion when it comes to the role distinctiveness between males and females. How then can a man pursue greatness within his manhood role if he fails to grasp what truly makes a man a man, or worse yet, he is constantly apologizing for his manliness? At the core of what makes a man great is not defined by his cultural surroundings, his physical capabilities, his emotions or his mental astuteness. What truly makes a man go beyond the norm of his day is birthed within the depths of his heart and soul.
Great men are not born great. They are made great through the adversities and trials they overcome for the sake of others.
Yes, our DNA determines the chemistry and biology of our bodies. Our God-given male and female bodies afford the propagation of mankind while providing an amazing and intimate relationship between husbands and wives. It is truly humbling to realize that we, men and women, together share in the likeness of God Himself as co-image bearers. When it comes to the great men, and for that matter, great women that have been used by God to do amazing things throughout the course of history, the "greatness factor" is not found in the DNA that drives the biology of our God-constructed bodies. The greatness factor is rooted within the deepest fibers of the man’s heart and soul.
For the Christian man, true greatness always begins where self is lost and Christ is found.
It is a driving force, that intangible part of a man that encompasses an undeniable mission that compels a man forward beyond the normalcy of his surrounding culture, beyond his biological constraints and beyond life’s circumstances that would seek to hold him captive. The greatness factor is bound within an unwavering commitment before God that awakens a man's soul toward a life quest that far surpasses his raw abilities. For the Christian man, true greatness always begins where self is lost and Christ is found.
In the realms of history, there is one single man that takes precedence as the greatest man that ever walked this earth. That man was the God-Man, Jesus Christ. We know the "heart and soul" of greatness by the mission and life He pursued.
"and whoever would be first among you must be slave to 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."
Every great husband and dad I know embodies this greatness variable in some shape or form. Ultimately, this is what makes them great men: their humility before God and others. Like Christ, these great men lead best when they love most and are willing to take on whatever sacrifice is necessary to achieve a greater good. In this way, any greatness that exudes from these men is reflected upward to the source of that greatness and glory.
While there is most certainly a uniqueness component involved within all of these men's lives, there are also overlapping aspects or qualities that seem to flow from the core of their beings. In this way, the greatness variable is not limited to one single trait. Rather, it is the driving force behind a collection of attributes that define greatness in a man’s life.
Here are 10 "greatness" traits that I've read about in biographies and have also witnessed first-hand in the lives of many great men of past and present:
1. He has a relentless passion to serve God and others. This passion drives his life purpose.
2. Where others see the impossible, he sees the possible given that God is leading his efforts. He is a man that keeps God's greater glory in front of him.
3. Regardless of where he is, what he’s doing or who is with him, he is the same man.
4. He leads by example. His actions align with his words.
5. He is a lover of justice. He seeks to protect and uphold those that are unable to defend themselves, i.e. he practices real religion in caring for the orphans and widows of our times (James 1:27).
6. He knows that real love means commitment at any cost, especially as it relates to his wife and marriage.
7. His wife and kids know that he will go to battle for them.
8. He's a friend to men, a mentor to boys and helps set the standard for his daughters.
9. He spends regular time in God's Word and is a man of prayer. This translates into a life of little worry and much action knowing that God holds the results in His hands.
10. He understands that fear and failure must be overcome with faith and determination.
When God considers "greatness" in a man He does not look at the man's outer appearance. Rather, God looks at the heart of a man to determine his usefulness...a contrite heart that trembles at His Word (Isaiah 66:2). I've often told my kids that if the heart is right, good actions will follow. It is the same with greatness. If the heart and soul are anchored to Christ, God's greatness and glory will be revealed in and through that life.
This is not to say that every great man has to rise to a certain level of social popularity or change the course of history. Most great men will never adorn the pages of any books. Yet, these are men of greatness through their commitment to God, to their wives and the unceasing love they pour upon their children. They are men that remain faithful to God regardless of their calling, the costs and circumstances in life.
If you're like me, you are likely still working on a number of those "10 greatness traits." Yet, the blessing is that any greatness we radiate from our lives is not ultimately dependent upon us. We're just God's vessels that He chooses to use to display His image, His greatness and His glory. It's all about Him. I remind myself of this fact on a regular basis. While it doesn't relieve all the pressure in wanting to do my best as a husband and a father, it helps me to stay focused on God's greatness and what really matters most in life.
God is not limited by who we are. In Christ Jesus, our lives are unlimited by who He is!
"Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.'"
"But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."
1 Samuel 16:7
"All these things my hand has made and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word."