Finally, we get back to it. We’ve had a few weeks off as we’ve set aside time with family for Christmas and for the New Years Party last weekend. It’s amazing how only a couple of weeks can feel like months.
The lat time we met we learned about and discussed how God is great so we don’t have to be in control. If you want to catch up you can find that blog post here. This week we dove headfirst into the truth that God is glorious so we don’t have to fear others.
God is Glorious So We Don’t Have To Fear Others
It happens all the time. Whether it’s something someone said to you in passing that is keeping you up at night, “what did he/she mean by that?” or it’s a comment or post on Facebook that you assume is about you and it’s driving you crazy. Could be that stomach ache you have in your abs from sucking that after Christmas gut in the entire workday so no one will know you’ve put on (the same) weight over Christmas (that they did). It could even be your behavior changing simply so you will have the favor of certain persons in your life.
Now, let me start by saying that earning favor with others isn’t necessarily a bad thing to work toward. It the reason that’s important. Here’s the big question. Do you care more about what other people think than what God thinks? That’s the whole thing. Do you give people more glory or weight in your life than God? In our current culture and English language, when I say God is glorious it really can mean the same thing as me saying he is great. However, in the Bible, the word carries the same meaning as heaviness or having weight or importance. So when we say that God is the most glorious, we’re actually saying he is what/who carries the most weight in our lives. Is that true for you.
Truth is actually not situational or different depending on who you are. Truth is truth. I know that goes far beyond our current culture in the U.S. but our current culture has it very wrong. If I see that a flower is yellow and a person who is color blind sees the plant and it looks different to them, the flower is still yellow. I know, shocking. Lol. If a person with perfectly good eyesight looks at the yellow flower and decides that for them the flower is purple…here’s a bigger shocker…the flower is still yellow.
I said that to say that God is indeed the most glorious one, whether you live like that or not. That’s the truth. That’s the reality. We see this in creation, history such as the flood, the vision of Isaiah (Is. 6:1-5). We witness the actuality and truth of the glory of the living God in Exodus 20 just after God has given the ten commands to Israel.
18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.”
We witness a similar response from Peter, James, and John during the transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew 17.
5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified.
The glory or weightiness of God is not only big. It’s scary big. God’s glory as witnessed in scripture is massive and always leaves people on their faces hoping they don’t die. God’s importance far outweighs the importance of me, people I look up to and/or try to impress, governments, ideas, and anything else with which I could fill in this blank.
As believers in and disciples of Christ Jesus, we are all called by him to alert those around us everywhere we go to his gospel message of the Kingdom of God and the opportunity of salvation, redemption from sin, reconciliation with God, and ultimately restoration to what God intended in creation. We have this calling from God himself through Christ, and we spend hours, days, and longer distracted by our tendency to make others the most glorious ones in our lives.
Every time I lead the congregation in music at Hillside Baptist Church I pray before practice, before the gathering itself, and many times personally that God would grant us hearts that are simply standing on the stage in awe of him. I pray that I would NOT be there to put on a show, to hear compliments afterward, to get glory or fame from others, but rather, that I would simply be caught up in the awesomeness and glory of God and worship him from the depths of what’s inside me. I have to ask for help with this. Because there’s not a human alive that wouldn’t get up there and hope, even just a little, that people think you did a great job, and that your voice and ability on the guitar are amazing. That’s our nature. We want that. And I have to actively ask God to give me a heart that wants, in that moment, to praise him and worship my king, exceedingly more than I want praise from any audience. I want to please them. And if I’m not careful, I’ll want it more than I’ll want to please HIM.
The more polluted my life is with this longing to please those around me, the less time and energy I have to carry out the calling we all have to proclaim the gospel to the world. I will spend time and energy thinking and dwelling on what he said or what she thinks and will have no time or energy to actively love others into the kingdom.
So, look for these moments in your days as the rest of this week unfolds. Look for moments that you’re caught up in drama or worry brought about by thinking falsely that the weight others have in your life is greater than that of the glory and importance of God. Look for any particular people, whether it be a spouse, children, coworkers, supervisors, etc, of whom you seek approval to an extent that it modifies your behavior and puts God in second place. Isolate those that you give more credit to than your creator.
Then, confess. Admit to God the struggle as you understand it and repent. Ask for his help to keep glory in its rightful place.
7 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
9 Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory!
– Psalms 24:7-10