Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Whose Glory?

Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name give glory, for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness! Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?"
Psalms 115:1-2     
     This may seem like a strange place to stop quoting this Psalm. It leaves the question just hanging there, unanswered. However, I stop here because this was the question that haunted me for a few days after I read this Psalm in my morning meeting with God. It troubled me on a broader sense applied to the Church in America today but also on a personal level. Why, indeed, should anyone be able to deny God in my life? Am I evidencing His power daily? Or have my fear and anxiety denied His authority?

    It is a sobering question, no doubt, and the key to the answer is given in the first verse of the Psalm. Ultimately, if God's power is conspicuously absent -- from either my personal life or from the life of the Church -- it is probably a misplacing of glory. To keep this personal, I find I must ask myself... oh, so many questions. In all I do, am I seeking His glory or my own? Even in the good, ministry-related things I do, what is my motive? Is it truly for the good name of my King, or do I often operate to soothe my own pride?

     Worse yet, and more painfully, do I stand on His truths even when they are uncomfortable or unpopular? Am I actually willing to undergo humiliation and mockery, feel the brunt of others' anger, even risk physical harm for the sake of His glory and His name? Do I put His glory first, always, even at great personal cost? And if I do not do these things in my country where currently it will only cost me perhaps popularity, warm welcome, or reputation, is there even a faint chance I will be able to stand boldly for Him should the spiritual climate shift to the point that standing for God will begin to cost physical well-being or even life? The great question is, do I stand counter to my culture, even counter to modern church culture, making myself a sacrifice for the sake of my Lord's glory, or do I try to seize my own, small glory under the guise of service to Him?

     It is funny how that one question lead to so many others. It caused me to humble myself in prayer, begging God to show many any areas where I was outside of His will or forsaking His truth for my own, personal comfort. It also reminded me that I need to truly exalt His name in my life. I need to concern myself with bringing about His glory, saying as the Psalmist did, "Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to Your name give glory."

     I have a firm conviction from all this questioning that it is His name, His honor, His Word, and HIs Truth alone that really matters. I need to concern myself more and more with living so that His name is not smeared with mud by my life but rather exalted. I need to live my life with great reverence and respect for the Name I bear. In fact, everything I do should be centered on this one goal: to bring glory, pleasure, and honor to my Lord and Savior. After all He has done for me, rescuing me when I did not even know I was imprisoned, washing me when I did not even know I was filthy, dying in my place before I even knew I was sentenced to death, is it so much to ask that I would now live for His glory alone?

     Lord, this country needs a revival of faith in Your word, remembering that it is for Your glory and pleasure that we even exist. But I cannot change this country Lord; I can only change my own choices. I ask today that You will strengthen me in this purpose, to live entirely for the glory of Your name no matter what the cost to me. In Jesus, You have already given me all I need. Teach me what it means, what it looks like, to live for You and You alone. Forgive me for the times I seek my own honor, prioritizing myself over You.  From now on, may my life become nothing more than a reflection of Your glory, Lord, for Your Name's sake, amen. 

The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us, that he may incline our hearts to him, to walk in all his ways and to keep his commandments, his statutes, and his rules, which he commanded our fathers. Let these words of mine, with which I have pleaded before the LORD, be near to the LORD our God day and night, and may he maintain the cause of his servant and the cause of his people Israel, as each day requires, that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD our God, walking in his statutes and keeping his commandments, as at this day." 

1 Kings 8:57-61