Many of you would likely agree that one of the ultimate things any individual or group of us who profess to be Christ followers is to glorify God. But consider what an odd concept that must be to those who are not following Jesus.
Glory- that is, the idea of ascribing deep value, worth, praise, honor and indeed worship, all of that is something many humans seek for themselves.
Indeed, Christians can fall into this temptation as easily as those who do not seek Jesus.
In fact I would suggest personal glory is a motivating factor in a great many decisions people make in terms of choosing studies, professions, even hobbies.
We find this in Revelations 4.11: “”Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and because of Your will they existed, and were created.”
Some reading this have likely heard and even sung (or as part of a worship team led) the song that this verse inspired, “Thou Art Worthy”.
But what of this word “receive”? How does God get glory given Him as an absolutely deserved offering?
The Book tells us several things about this.
Psalm 19.1: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky displays his handiwork.”
So we see creation itself brings God glory as well as reflects His glory, honor, power and amazing character.
Isaiah 48.11: “For my sake alone I will act, for how can I allow my name to be defiled? I will not share my glory with anyone else! ”
In other words, God is saying He alone IS God, His majestic essence, honor, power and authority are His alone, there is NO other God nor does any human being measure up to His glory. There is simply no other in heaven or on earth like Him.
But what about Revelation 16.9: “Thus people were scorched by the terrible heat, yet they blasphemed the name of God, who has ruling authority over these plagues, and they would not repent and give him glory.”
This is not a verse you hear quoted often, even among Bible-teaching Christians in or outside of church gatherings. However you interpret it, not nice, not fun and not something anyone would sign up to experience, no? But we have seen in history plenty of people take the “curse God and die” route rather than turn from what HE calls sin, unrighteousness, surrender to Him and note: “GIVE Him glory”.
Part of our accepting His mercy and forgiveness means GIVING HIM GLORY. There is no divorcing the love of God from glorifying Him because He is both The Source of genuine love and therefore worthy of glory.
In my view, self-glorification is one road than can bring us very close to actual blasphemy. As I often mention, we want to BE God. Like the key fallen angel, the devil, we want worship rather that giving worship to the true God.
Christians rightly quote from 1 John, that “God is love”. YES! But all through both testaments, indeed the New Testament, via Jesus, Paul and etc., we see that He does get angry. It is for good cause. Interesting how we allow humans including ourselves, to be angry but God could not possibly have reason to be- and especially GOOD reason to be so?!! We judge our own motives more pure and righteous, or simply ignore, pass over or toss the verses in the New Testament (you really don’t need to go to the Old to see this) which say things such as Paul writes in Romans chapter 1:
18. The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,
19. since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.
20. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
21. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools
23. and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
25. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
Now before you conclude my focus is “God is mad as H…” I actually don’t think Paul himself is focused on that here, and if you read through in context, you don’t walk away with that as Paul’s main point nor the core character of God. The other thing that is equally often overlooked (in my personal opinion) are the words “glorified” in v. 21 and “”exchanged the glory” in v. 23, and lastly in v. 25 “worshiped”.
Glory is core, worship is core, and one of the things about worshiping God “in spirit and in truth” which Jesus says is what our Father God not only desires but deserves…. has to do with GIVING HIM SOMETHING WE WANT FOR OURSELVES… that often, is glory.
Honor, praise, adoration, even worship is something humans give to the creation, animals, sun/moon/stars, art and artists, the human body, various experiences, on and on it goes. To glorify GOD is so foreign to many because they are no longer the center of their universe as they truly glorify Him.
God HAS given us “all things richly to enjoy”, but there is a point at which we worship the things and do not glorify God nor thank Him for His many incredible gifts.
And that is one way of understanding idolatry and the lie many of us live outside of love, without faithful surrender to God in Jesus Christ.
In the end the true God will be glorified- but in that coming event not all who hit their knees and shout “Jesus Christ is Lord” to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2.9-11) will be saying it out of a life they had lived in faith and love while on earth. Oh the tragedy of neglecting the one God who IS God: what could and should have been!
As long as we live He stands at the door and knocks.
Glory to God for His love, grace and the chance to follow Him!
Thanks for stopping by, -Glenn