“As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died. (Galatians 6:14 NLT)
What brings your deepest satisfaction, joy? A job well done? Your child who is walking closely with Jesus? Feeling well after a surgery or long illness? Reconciling with a friend or loved one? The list is long, but for me in this season of my life, nothing satisfies or brings me greater joy than seeing God’s glory magnified and His holy name honored and exalted.
Paul’s declaration that he desired to never boast about anything except the cross of Christ, bears witness with my spirit’s longing and desire. While I’m confident each of us understands what “glory” or “glorious” means, for our purposes today, Strong’s defines them as: “the kingly majesty which belongs to God as supreme ruler, majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity.” And in reference to Jesus: “the kingly majesty of the Messiah; the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ.”
Why is it important to know those things? Two predominant reasons: first, they are defined the same for God and for Jesus, the Christ, and, second, to the extent we are able to shed light on those definitions for others, especially those who don’t yet know and love Jesus, to that extent our joy is complete.
Glory can also be understood as praise, adoration, recognition, honor, dignity, worship. So, to the extent our lives declare Christ’s greatness and grandeur, to that extent our lives become living monuments of praise, adoration, and worship of the only true and living King, our God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. That means that everything we do, say, or think has the potential of glorifying and honoring Jesus and making Him known, which in turn ignites our spirits and brings us joy.
For a fuller understanding of this whole idea of God’s glory equaling our joy, I encourage you to read John Piper’s book “Don’t Waste Your Life.” While I’ve sought for years to honor the Lord through my life, I never made the connection between His glory and my joy. Of course, on the proverbial mountain tops of spiritual experience, I had joy, delight, and desired to carry those moments with me forever. But it doesn’t work that way.
On some levels it’s like the joy, delight, and ecstasy of our wedding day. The bride never looks more beautiful and the groom is never quite so full of joy as he anticipates his new life with the woman of his dreams. But fast-forward a few months or years and a lot of things change. A few kids later and the wife isn’t quite as beautiful as on the wedding day, and “prince charming” isn’t quite the catch we envisioned he would be.
Unfortunately, we’re much too prone to do a similar thing with the Lord. Our feet hardly touch the ground for a while after we’re saved, but over time, we come back to earth and begin living our lives much like we always did. Yes, of course, we may go to church, read our Bibles, serve, and even pray, but for far too many, they’re still the center and focus of their universe.
Jesus too often becomes simply a convenience in an emergency and we’re really glad He paid the penalty for our sin and purchased for us a place in heaven, but from all outward appearances, our lives don’t look any different than the lives of our lost loved ones and neighbors. Where’s the joy in living like that? Certainly not in Jesus!
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊