I love the word “glory”. I appreciate the sound it makes as it rolls across my tongue and it brings to mind images of dancing light beams and Jesus transfigured, face shining like the sun. I think of what happened when Moses went up the mountain and spent time in God’s presence. His face glowed with the reflected glory of the Lord.
Despite the lovely images, I have trouble wrapping my mind around the concept of glory. Bible dictionaries define it as abundance, treasure, honour, splendour, brightness and majesty. It is something intrinsic to God’s character and being – a quality so wondrous and powerful that it altered Moses’ appearance.
The Bible makes it clear that human beings are to give glory to God. “Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.” (Ps. 29:2) Does this mean we tell Him how wonderful He is, over and over again? The Westminster Catechism implies that there is more to it than that: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.”
When I think about glorifying God, I imagine retreating into the shadows so God can be the one that shines. How can that be enjoyable? I don’t know about you, but there’s something in me – pride, perhaps – that would rather keep a little glory for myself. But God says: “I am the Lord, that is my name! I will not give my glory to anyone else …” (Isaiah 42:8)
It’s clear that pride must be put aside in any quest to recognize God’s greatness and worship him appropriately, but getting rid of it isn’t easy. In fact, it feels a bit like dying. I’ve been discovering, though, that when I let go of my rights and desires, give up my futile attempts to gain the world’s esteem and cease trying to claw my way up the ladder to heaven, something surprising occurs.
As the inner noise quietens down, I feel a little scared and alone.But if I cling to God and refuse to give into the temptation to fill that emptiness with the usual second-rate stuff, my spirit begins to awaken to God’s presence. It dawns on me that I’m not some spiritual orphan, scrabbling in the dust for a crumb of food, but the beloved child of a Father who can meet all my needs. A finger of joy dances into my heart and I get up and walk with a lighter step, praising and thanking my Maker. And in my spirit, I sense that He is pleased.
This God of ours, who created galaxies and pulsates with energy and light, cares deeply for me. And you. Glorious indeed.
“To please God … to be a real ingredient in the divine happiness … to be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son – it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Sun rays through trees - http://www.flickr.com/photos/piper/2890945512/
Lonely bird - http://www.flickr.com/photos/jstar/134561582/
Joyful girl - http://www.flickr.com/photos/pinksherbet/1950145389/