There’s not been much talk about the GOAT in sports recently, but this week I was reading some things Jesus said that actually relate to a better meaning of the GOAT.
Whether you’re a follower of Jesus or not, what He said could drastically impact your relationships and life in a positive way because following Jesus makes life better and makes you better at life.
Some religious people in the first century asked Jesus; “What’s the greatest commandment?” In other words, what’s the GOAT when it comes to God’s commands.
Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31
This is the plumb-line for a follower of Jesus. If you’re developing a Christian worldview and growing in your relationship with Jesus, this will be your plumb-line. If you’re more influenced by a secular worldview, you’ll know these commands, but they’ll not impact every decision.
Jesus said in John 14:15, “If you love me you’ll keep my commands.” None of us are perfect in keeping His commands. As I’ve said for years, we live in direction – not perfection. However, the direction of our lives should move us closer to fulfilling these commands. If this isn’t happening, you should seriously reflect on who or what’s influencing your choices and worldview.
Let’s take it a step further with what Jesus said.
When Jesus was asked by His disciples about who is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, He used a child as an example. Simple childlike faith that fully trusts and follows Jesus leads to greatness. (Matthew 18, Luke 9)
Jesus also said the greatest among us would be the person who serves God by serving people.
When His disciples were arguing about who was the greatest among them, look what happened. Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave – just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:25-28
If the GOAT command is to love God first and love people as you love yourself, the greatest way to demonstrate that love is found in Jesus’ words in John 15:12-14 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.
To lay down your life for your friends requires sacrifice, service and a Christian worldview that doesn’t include a primary focus on “ME”. To lay down your life for your friends requires that you love God first and people as you love yourself! In other words, we need to have the attitude of Jesus as written about in Philippians 2:1-11.
To do this involves sacrifice and most likely some form of suffering, but Jesus says when you trust and follow me, your ultimate reward will be GREAT. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:11-12
One of the most radical illustrations of a person who chose this lifestyle in the 1st Century was the Apostle Paul. He was a man who hated and persecuted Christians and then became one. Paul became a follower of Jesus because he has a personal encounter with Jesus after Jesus was raised from the dead. When this happened, Paul realized Jesus was legit; Jesus was the Messiah, Son of God, Lord.
God used Paul to plant many churches and under the direction of God’s Holy Spirit, Paul wrote much of what we have in the New Testament. One of Paul’s key statements about how we should serve (which is greatness) is found in his letter to the local church in Ephesus.
And [His gifts to the church were varied and] He Himself appointed some as apostles [special messengers, representatives], some as prophets [who speak a new message from God to the people], some as evangelists [who spread the good news of salvation], and some as pastors and teachers [to shepherd and guide and instruct], [and He did this] to fully equip and perfect the saints (God’s people) for works of service, to build up the body of Christ [the church]; until we all reach oneness in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God, [growing spiritually] to become a mature believer, reaching to the measure of the fullness of Christ [manifesting His spiritual completeness and exercising our spiritual gifts in unity]. Ephesians 4:11-13 AMP
The bottom line for me is a Christian worldview and a genuine love for God and others will lead me to serve God by serving people; in His church (the local church) and in our communities.
Just my ramblings on this Thursday morning. Hope you’ll take a moment to reflect on these things. Have a blessed day.