A solemn warning for Christians who desire greatness



One of the most familiar biblical passages on greatness is found in Mark 10:35-45. Jesus had just reminded his disciples what was going to happen to Him when they arrived in Jerusalem. The next thing we know, James and John are asking to sit on Jesus’ right and left when He comes into His glory. Their Master proceeds to give them a brief lesson on true greatness—whoever wishes to become great shall become a servant, and whoever wishes to become first shall be a slave of all. Most of us are familiar with this. We may not have adopted the principle, but we’ve heard the lesson.

A New Perspective

Recently, I came across some familiar passages that gave me a new perspective on a desire for greatness. The Bible tells us of the greatest of all created beings. He had it all. He was the top dog with everything one could imagine at his disposal. His name was Lucifer.

Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them (Job 1:6). You had the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: You were the anointed cherub who covers, and I placed you there. You were on the holy mountain of God; you walked in the midst of the stones of fire. You were blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you (Ezek 28:12-15).

Then Everything Changed

You sinned; therefore, I have cast you as profane from the mountain of God. And I have destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, that they may see you (Ezek 28:16-17).

How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! Nevertheless, you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit (Isaiah 14:12,15).


Lucifer had everything—power, position, beauty, but it wasn’t enough. Greatness was no longer sufficient. He wanted to be the greatest!

But you said in your heart:
I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God.
I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High (Isaiah 14:13-14).

How did this happen? Instead of spending his life honoring his creator, he became proud and sought to honor himself. I wonder if Michael had anything to do with it. He was one of the “top tier” angels. His name means “Who is like God?” Considering the importance of names in the Bible, it’s possible that one of his jobs was to proclaim his name—“Who is like God?” Perhaps Lucifer got tired of hearing it and one day proclaimed, “I am, or at least I will be!”

Whatever the case, the point is the same. Jesus’ words still hold true:

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
and whoever wishes to become first among you shall be slave of all.”

Only one is great, and our job is to proclaim His greatness. We have a powerful example of what happens when we seek greatness for ourselves.



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