Tony Evans - Greatness is Your Destiny
Since the Lord God gave Adam a garden in Genesis, and told him to cultivate it, to make it flourish, and then to guard it. The question is, if there's only one man, no woman yet, against whom does he have to guard his house? Who does he have to be out on the lookout for to protect his homestead and it's only him? Well, it's not quite only him because Satan has been kicked out of heaven, he's been kicked to planet earth. Ezekiel 28 and Isaiah 14 said that he has been kicked to planet earth. And what many people don't understand is why God created a man in the first place. God created a man, Psalm 8, Hebrews 2 says, "A little lower than the angels". That is, constitutionally inferior. We can't fly like angels, we don't have the strength of angels, we don't possess the intellect of angels.
Man was created inferior to the angels so that God could demonstrate what he could do with less when less was committed to him, than he could do with more when more was in rebellion against him. So, he created a lesser creature, a man, in order to show an angel what God could do through less. You see, some people think that there's this battle between God and the devil. Well, if there's a battle between God and the devil, it wouldn't last long. I mean, if God can speak and the worlds come into existence, he can speak and the devil disappear. So, God shows the lesser creature, man, in order to demonstrate his greater glory. But in order for man to do that, he would have to be operating under God's kingdom rule. And so, you see in Genesis 2 that God created Adam. And when he created Adam, he instructed Adam. And when he instructed Adam, he took the man, verse 15, put him in the garden, commanded him, saying, "From every tree of the garden you may eat, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you may not eat it, lest you die".
Now, we know what happens. Eve was created, that's a whole 'nother story we'll talk about later. She's put in the garden and chapter 3 comes, "Now, the serpent was more crafty than any beast that God had made". We'll call him slick 'cause he's more crafty. In other words, he's slick, he's smooth. The man was given a calling by God to oversee and protect the garden. That is your job, to provide, cultivate it, you're going to produce all of this revenue in the garden. So provision, the responsibility of any man, and protection. Guard the garden from the devil getting into your house. Don't let the devil in because I want to demonstrate my greater glory. You remember my definition of a kingdom man. It is a man who comes under the comprehensive rule of God. When the devil shows up, he skips Adam and goes to Eve. He skips the man and go right for the woman. It is the great role reversal. We're going to skip the man, go to the woman, and let her lead. Adam is sitting there or standing there listening to this dude rap to his woman. Okay?
You say, "How do you know Adam was there"? 'Cause verse 6 says, "The woman gave the fruit to him when he was with her". So, he's overseeing the conversation, but we're dealing with the silence of Adam. He doesn't say a mumbling word, but his job was to guard the garden. What I want you to notice as we introduce this session is what's missing. When the devil talks to Eve, he says to her in the field which the Lord God made, he says to the woman, "Indeed, hath God said"? In verse 3, "But the fruit of the tree of the midst of this garden, God said," verse 5, "for God knows that the day you eat of it, your eyes will be open, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil". Please notice what the devil did then and what the devil does now. He kept God and dropped Lord. Remember chapter 2? Lord has to do with him revealing himself in overseeing the management of things. The devil said, "Keep your religion, drop your Lord".
We can discuss God all day long as long as he's not calling the shots and telling you what to do. God created Adam and all the Adams since for greatness. Gave him a garden, gave him a destiny, gave him the resources, gave him a woman, gave him responsibility. And oh what a job it was, that he would be overseeing all of this provision until the devil ripped out Lord. And when he ripped out Lord without canceling God, all hell broke loose. And the reason why hell is breaking loose today is because we've got men who go to church who don't belong to the kingdom, who are not operating under the Lord God who calls the males out three times a year under his authority. You, like Adam, have been created for greatness. What I'm going to share with you often men don't hear. Men feel it and know it, but it doesn't sound spiritual to say it. You were not created just to be a male, you were created to be a great man. What he is saying is that you are created for substance, significance. And not only is it okay to be great, God wants you to be great. You're not supposed to be okay. God told Abraham in Genesis 12:2, "I'm going to bless you and I'm going to make your name great". He told David in 2 Samuel chapter 7, verse 9, "I am going to make your name great". He spoke about greatness.
In fact, in Genesis chapter 18, verse 19 we read these words, "For I have chosen him," talking about Abraham, "so that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he had spoken about him". What had God spoken about him? "I'm going to make you great". And he says, "I have chosen him". If you are a Christian, you have been chosen not only to be saved in heaven, but to be great in history. You have chosen to be significant. You're not just supposed to pass through here and just be trying to make it. You're supposed to be great, and God wants it for you. Well, now you may be thinking, "Well, that's Abraham and that's David. But you know, those were like Old Testament things. What about me"?
Well, let's go to a New Testament thing, Matthew chapter 20. The reason why many men are not realizing their greatness, or getting false greatness, is because they're not tied to the king and his kingdom, so they have to piggyback on illegitimate greatness. Look at what he says in Matthew chapter 20. Jesus is talking to his disciples. And as they were often prone to do, they're fussing at each other. And as he speaks with them in chapter 20, the mother of the sons of Zebedee come to Jesus, and Jesus says, "Well, what do you want"? And she says, "Command that in your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit on your right and one on your left". In other words, "In your kingdom, I want my boys to be somebody. I want them right next to you, one on the right, one on the left, I want my boys to be significant".
He goes on to say, "Well, you do not know what you're asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I'm about to drink? Are you willing to go into this thing with me? My cup that I'm about to go through, are you willing to go through the work of becoming great"? And then he says this, "Jesus called them to himself". He says, "Come here, guys. Your mama want to make you great.'" Okay? Every mother wants their son to be great. "You know that the rulers of the Gentile lord it over them". The rulers of the Gentile try to force things, make things happen. "And their great men exercise authority over them". So, the Gentiles, that's the non-Christian world. The non-Christian, dog eat dog, you know. What goes around comes around world, the world that has to force things to happen. He says that's how that world works. But your mama asked me about my kingdom, "It is not this way among you". Says, "I don't want you to try to become great like they try to become great. But whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave".
Here's where I want to get your attention on. He did not tell them not to want to be great. He told them, "If you want to be great, this is how you get it". He didn't say, "You know, you should be, I can't believe you and your mama got together and talking about great. Don't you know you're supposed to be humble, and bow your head and, you know, and be soft spoken? Not be a little Christian punk. Don't you know that that's what you're supposed to be"? He says, "No, your mother brought up greatness, so I want to talk to you about greatness, but I don't want you to get greatness like they get greatness. I want you to get greatness by your servanthood so that the king of the kingdom can make you great".
God wants you to be great. Your destiny is great. When God ever used the man in the Bible, whatever he called them to do was more than they thought they could do. It was bigger than they thought they could achieve. But the reason why is because God made them great. Are you just thinking, "Well, you know, I hope if I can just make it, if I can just get by"? The Bible declares, now, because this can cause attention to some men because it sounds a little bit unspiritual, which is why, by the way, a lot of men don't like church. 'Cause they think they got to dumb down their manhood to go, because much of church is geared to satisfy women. Flowery songs, soft songs, soft light, soft, you know. No grr, none of that, all right? The Bible says that Moses was the meekest man who ever lived. He is the meekest man who ever lived. Yet, in Exodus chapter 7, verses 1 and 2, God tells Moses, "I am going to make you like God to Pharaoh".
Now, wait a minute. We got two things going on here. He's called the meekest man who ever lived. Nobody meeker than Mo. And at the very same time, God says, "I'm going to make you as God to Pharaoh". Wait a minute, you can't be no punk coming up to Pharaoh, who's defying God. 'Cause Pharaoh tells Moses, "Who is this God that you think is going to let the children of Israel go"? And he says, "And I'm going to make you like a little G-O-D representing the big G-O-D to a fool," all right? A lot of times we face the world, we face the circumstances out there and they look so big. That's because they're detached from the king. The reason why we're not seeing our greatness is the circumstances we're in don't have to answer to anybody but us because we're too disconnected from the commissioner.
So, you got to be operating for the kingdom under the rule of the king to see God overrule and give you the plot of ground, the garden that he has destined you for. Every man in here has a destiny. Every man here has a purpose. God is not asking you to follow me and give up your manhood. He's not asking you to follow me and dumb down your masculinity. He's saying, "No, but I want to breaketh in, I want you to stop throwing me off your back. I want you to stop telling me, 'Don't ride you.' 'Cause once you throw me off now, I'm going to see you again tomorrow, and I'm going to ride you till life breaks you". See, what men want is they want their independence from God. And God will not allow something in his stable to be independent from him, so he will make you meek, so he can make you great.
Greatness is when you achieve the reason for which you were created and maximize its influence in the lives of others. That makes you great. You great when your kids still want to be around you and your wife don't want to leave you, you know? You're great when other men respect you. You're not called to be ordinary, you're called to be extraordinary. That's why I like the story of Shamgar. Shamgar's my man, Shamgar's my man. Shamgar's found in the book of Judges, only two verses on it, two verses on Shamgar in chapter 3, verse 31 and chapter 5, verse 6. Only two verses about this guy, okay? Now, Shamgar is a farmer, okay? We know that 'cause he's got an ox goad. Ox goad is the long pole with a point in the back that you jab the ox to get him going, and a little shovel on the end so you dig up roots so you can plow.
He was a farmer. But he was surrounded by evil. It says the Philistines were attacking Israel, and he got tired of it. He got sick and tired of the enemy running his neighborhood, and so Shamgar decides that he's going to start right where he is, he's not going to wait for other folk to turn stuff around, he's going to do the little bit he can. The two verses tell us that Shamgar slew 600 Philistines with an ox goad. Now, this man, this is a farmer. This farmer, he's slaying 600. Now, how do you slay 600 men with an ox goad? Well, let me tell you how you don't do it, at one time, all right? Six hundred guys bum rush you, I don't care what kind of goad you got, all right? You see, chapter 5, verse 6 says that the way that they were doing was that they were coming by the byways, so that means they were in little groups. So, I mean, he rambo'd them. He picked them off a little bit at a time, you know? He gored one here and he gored one there until 600 of them went down.
The beautiful thing about this, though, it says, "And he became a judge in Israel". Wait a minute now, how a farmer going to become a judge? How somebody plowing one day is sitting in a ruler chair another day? Because God made the man great. And what made him great was the difference he made in the community he lived in, in the people he was with. Oh, by the way, the name Shamgar means the one who listens to God. That's what my boy's name means. So, he's a farmer, but he's out there farming talking to God, "God, what you want me to do about this problem? You got to give me some guidance". And God is speaking to him, he's getting some divine instruction, and God wakes him up one day and said, "Well, you ever thought about using that ox goad as a tomahawk missile? You ever", And he listens to God, not to everybody else. And whatever he got from God guided him, and this man became great.
God has destined you for greatness by association, but what Satan wants to do if he wants to remove the word "Lord," but let you keep the word "God" so that you stay religious, but God is not telling you what to do. When that happens, instead of becoming great, you invite chaos, confusion, and calamity into your world. You were called to be great. I adore being a man. Sometimes, I get so geek on being a man, I wake up and tell myself, "You a bad boy". You know, I am so excited about being a man. Now, I'm not hating on ladies, I'm sure they glad to be ladies, God bless them. I love being a man. Now, there are a lot of reasons for it, but let me tell you the main reason, or a main reason why I love being a man, and that's 'cause of something we just read.
In Genesis 2, The lord God in verse 18 says, "'It's not good that man should be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him.' Out of the ground, the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name". Ooh. I will tell you why I love being a man. God brought to Adam all the names, all the names from the aardvark to the zebra. He brings all the animals and he says, "What you want them to be? Name them". He names all the animals, and here it states, "Whatever he named them, that was its name".
Let me tell you why you ought to be excited about being a man, 'cause you get to name things. Okay, you get to declare what things ought to be. But when God brought it, God let him call it. And when he called it, God endorsed it. See, I get up in the morning looking for stuff to name. God, bring me something to name. I want to name something today. I want to bring something and define its reality. Not only did he name the beast, God made a woman and he named her. He says, "And I will call her name woman. My name is Ish, Adam, her name is Isha, woman. I'm going to give her my name". And if you marry, you to name somebody. She just may not be living up to her name. Or she may be living up to a name that has lost its meaning.
But guess what? You get to rename 'cause in the Bible, God always renamed. "Abram, your name is no longer going to be Abram. Your name going to be Abraham. I'm going to rename you". 'Cause God has called you to be a man, and you are so great, you have such a destiny that you get to name stuff. So, now when you think about being a man, a kingdom man under the rule of God, that carries some authority with it. You're not just on the field, you got the yellow flag. You get to decide how things are going to go.
You know, closing this time together, one of my favorite movie trilogies is "Matrix," "Matrix Reloaded," and "Matrix Revolution". You know, I'm a "Matrix" man. As Thomas Anderson, he was a computer programmer, part-time computer hacker, until one day he is drawn into a world behind the world that he lives in. He discovers in this other world there's power he didn't know he had. I mean, he could do that with stuff coming at him. I mean, he found out there was abilities he didn't possess. He found out there was a lady named Trinity he could fall in love with. He found out there was a city named Zion that he was supposed to represent. He even found out he had a new named called Neo back there in the arena of the Matrix.
But Morpheus comes to him and Morpheus says, "I got here a red pill and I got a blue pill. If you take this blue pill, you can go back to your ordinary life, your ordinary world, and we'll forget all about this. But if you take this red pill, you will enter into a realm that you could never dream of. Which pill do you want"? Thomas Anderson looked at both pills, he picked the red pill, put it in his mouth. Then Morpheus looks at him and says, "Welcome to the real world". See, when you become a kingdom man, you leave that other world behind. Welcome to the real world.
Did you know it's okay to be great? Oh, let me go one step further. Did you know God wants you to be great? You see, God is not against greatness. His disciples were arguing who was going to be the greatest in the kingdom. And when they were arguing, Jesus didn't tell them, "Don't aspire to greatness". In fact, he encouraged it. He said, "If you want to be great, then this is how you do it". The problem is not that men want to be great. In fact, you've fallen short if you don't want to be great. The problem is seeking greatness in the wrong definition, or using the wrong methodology. God's design for greatness means that you must be humble before him. He says the greater you become, the greater the servant you are.
Greatness in the kingdom comes through service, not through nomenclature, not though people, you know, patting you on the back. Nothing is wrong with that as long as you are a servant. How many other people are you helping to become great? Because that establishes your right to be great. Jesus says that if you want to be great, don't do it like the non-Christians do it. They lord it over people. They oppress people. They force people to conform. That's not what kingdom men do. They find out how they can help out the people to be stronger, better, and they reach down and get other men who are not there, and raise them up. And that's the greatness. You are great when other people can aspire to be like you because you are worth following as a kingdom man. Become a servant of all and God will recognize your greatness because guess what? Greatness is your destiny.