It seems to me, that some christians have a problem with the concept of greatness.  Not so much a problem with God being great, but more so difficulty with the idea that God made humankind to be great.  A belief that to think ‘too highly’ of ourselves, to really believe that God has put anything great at all in us, is walking on dangerous ground and should be avoided at all costs.  Better to think less of yourself than to risk falling into pride.

But i’m not too sure of this logic and this is why –

When i examine scripture, i see that every time someone thought of themselves in ways that were less than accurate, in ways that made less of who God had made them to be, there were disastrous consequences.  I think of Eve in the garden of Eden right at the beginning of time.  The serpent came and offered her the ability to become like God.  The ironic thing of course, is that Eve already was like Him.  She’d been made in God’s image.  She already had what the devil was dangling in front of her.  And yet, because she did not see herself accurately, because she thought of herself as less than what God had made her to be, she traded everything for the promise of something she already had.

All throughout the Bible this scenario repeats itself in different ways.  The first generation of Israelites out of slavery in Egypt show the same problem.  They looked at the promised land, loved what they saw of the land itself but became intimidated by the people of the land for they saw giants around them and saw themselves as grasshoppers.  They thought less of who God had made them to be – His own people, empowered to take the land.  They saw grasshoppers where God declared them to be victorious warriors and in their unbelief they traded what would have been incredible steps into their destiny for years of wandering in the desert and loss of all that was promised.  The difference between them and the subsequent generation was nothing other than an understanding of who they were and who their God was.  One generation thought less of themselves and perished, the next generation took God at His word about what He’d spoken over them and became conquerers.

Interestingly even with Jesus, the devil tried to bring doubt in His mind about who He was.  In the desert where the devil tempted Jesus, the temptations were centred both around the character of the Father and around the real identity of Jesus. ‘If you are the Son of God…’ the devil said.  If Jesus had begun to think less of Himself in that moment, everything would have been lost.  But wonderfully, He saw His Father and Himself completely accurately.  He would not be drawn to think less of either of them.  And so the enemy was defeated.

I believe the enemy is bringing the same old questions and doubts to the people of God now, just as he has been doing right from the beginning.  He understands that if he can make us believe less of ourselves than is true, then he’s got a good chance of stopping us in our tracks and robbing us of our God-given destiny.  He doesn’t mind clothing all of this in the idea of ‘humility’ – twisting the word to mean something it doesn’t so christians wholeheartedly take hold of thinking less of themselves with the misguided notion that they are becoming more godly in the process.

The truth is, thinking less of yourself than is accurate is dangerous and foolish.  God has put greatness in us.  He’s made us in His image and adopted us as His children and given us the privilege of being heirs of His Kingdom.  He has made us brand new creations with godly natures aglow with supernatural DNA.  To deny any of this is to enter into the enemy’s trap.

Someone once defined humility not as thinking less of yourself but to think of yourself less.  I like that.  I don’t want to fall into the enemy’s trap to think less of myself – God has put greatness in me and i’m so grateful for it!  But to think of myself less and to fix my eyes on Him and all those He loves.  Ah, now that’s humility i want to lay hold of.  Let me encourage you – be honest about how great God has made you to be, and then put your focus on the God who gives you greatness in the first place.  It will make you someone full of courage and faith – knowing He’s put everything needed in you for your destiny, and knowing He who began a good work in you is faithful to see it to completion.

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Ever notice how words can totally change how you feel? One minute you’re walking along with a spring in your step and the next minute someone says something to you that makes your stomach drop and your heart sink. I just had one of those moments. Happy to deflated in approximately twenty seconds. Funny timing given the fact that I was thinking of writing a blog on this topic.

God really knows what He’s talking about when He says, ‘the power of life and death is in the tongue’. Makes me want to use my words more carefully.

The wonderful thing of course, is that just as much as we have the ability to destroy someone’s confidence with what we say, we’ve got the power to catapult them into greatness as we call out gold from them. We have the power to speak game-changing words over one another.

The Bible records many game-changing conversations and one of my absolute favourites is the conversation between Queen Esther and her uncle Mordecai (Esther 4). In ancient times women were valued for only one thing – their beauty. There really was no expectation of, or use for a woman other than this. And Esther had fully bought into the world’s estimation and expectation of her. When her uncle came to her and told her of the trouble that the Jews faced and told her to go to the King for their rescue, Esther’s response was (I paraphrase) ‘Are you kidding? Don’t you know just how insignificant I am?’ And in response Mordecai began to speak words that shifted her thinking. Game-changing words. Words of courage and destiny. He spoke now all too familiar words quoted by many a christian: ‘Who knows whether you were brought into the kingdom for such a time as this?’ In that moment everything changed for Esther. A woman who thought very little of herself suddenly got revelation that she was created for more than just to sit and look pretty, that she was created with greatness in mind, that she was created for incredible destiny. And because she got fresh revelation of who she was, the course of a nation was changed.

I want to be like Mordecai to those around me. I want to be a woman who speaks words that are game-changing for my hearers. A woman who points people to their destiny and pours courage into them to do the seemingly impossible. I love how reading of Mordecai provokes me to speak words of life over others. But there’s more in this story than just inspiration for how I am to live. Incredibly, Mordecai is not just a model for us, but is a picture to us of what the Holy Spirit is like. Contrary to popular belief, the Holy Spirit is not busy running around convicting christians of their sin (John 16 is quite clear that this is one of His roles towards the unbeliever) but rather, as we see in Romans 8, the Spirit is busy speaking new identity and greatness over the believer. He loves telling us of our new-creation identity. He loves pouring courage into us to empower us to live lives of great adventure and influence. If we tune in our ears to listen, we’ll hear Him speaking game-changing words over us. I wonder whether the course of nations will change as we draw in to listen?

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At the beginning of this year i feel older. Not older in a tired way, but older in a deeper, fuller way. Older in the sense that this last year was full of rich experiences – some wonderful and fantastic, some ok, and some down right miserable. But what made them all rich is that in every one of those experiences, the faithfulness of God shone through. Whether in the highest mountain peak or the lowest, darkest valley, He cannot help but be Himself – good, loving, faithful, true and oh-so-breathtakingly-kind. And so i sit typing at my computer with a smile on my face, seeing His fingerprints all over 2014 and looking forward to another year where i’ll get to glimpse even more of who He is, both in the good and in the bad times.

Yesterday i read an invitation to ‘feed on faithfulness’ (Psalm 37). I like that. I’ll be taking it as my theme for this year – whatever the circumstance, i’ll be digging deep into the treasure chest of His faithfulness and feeding off of it for fullness of life. I plan on making His faithfulness my home, secure in this wonderful truth, that there’s more than enough of His goodness for all of us.

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