I received this email recently from a former student:
Dear Karen, I’m writing because I would love to hear more from you on what “God’s Glory” means. I was reading my Bible today and the verse in John 12:43 stuck out to me…it says “for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God”. I was meditating on that and wanting God’s glory in my life, far above my own glory. But I’m often not sure how I practically live that out or what it fully means for God to be glorified.
By the grace of God I did my best to answer:
What is the glory that Jesus sought? Steve Hawthorne, of Waymakers Ministry, in The Story of His Glory defines glory as the essential worth, the substance, and the radiant beauty of something. Jesus’ life purpose was to glorify His Father, to recognize His intrinsic worth and spread it to the multitudes.
In John 17: 1-5 Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”
On the final night of His life Jesus does not refer to his life in terms of himself. He realized that he had a specific assignment and a mission: His Father’s mission. He also understood and believed that the incomprehensible depth of His sacrifice on the cross was worth it all! To pursue our Father’s glory gives passion for the mission he has called us to do.
John Piper describes it in this way:
Take a look at the scripture: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3).
The glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going public of his holiness. It is the way he puts his holiness on display for people to understand. So the glory of God is the holiness of God made manifest.
How does it play out practically today?
As a believer you can see the glory of God everywhere. We need eyes. We need eyes more than we need anything. The enemy of this world has blinded the minds of unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the knowledge of His glory (2 Corinthians 4:4–6). They can’t see what you and I have the ability to see. Abiding in His presence is key. When His presence is on me, I can see his glory everywhere I look. I say to myself, “ That’s it, that’s it over there, I see it everywhere: in the mountains, in the sky, in my living room as I sit on the floor and His spirit washes over me, in the birth of a child, in healing miracles, in the deaf Ethiopian woman whose ears were opened to hear, in the joy on the face of a Somalian woman who just received Christ. His glory also manifests through His gifting, through visions, dreams, word of knowledge, through the scripture. Dear friend pray that the Lord enhances your gifting. You have many gifts. Don’t limit them. Don’t limit yourself and don’t limit God. Ask Him to endow you with all the gifts to be used for the glory of His kingdom. His glory manifests through them.
When I am in His presence, I am alert to see everything that He manifests, therefore I can abide in His glory because I can abide continually in His presence. Begin praying that daily for yourself.
Pray: “Lord help me to abide in your presence. Show me your glory every day of my life.”
Worship more. His presence abides in worship. When I wake up each morning I hear worship in my ears as if He’s singing to me and I know He’s there. It’s such a beautiful touch from my Father. He alters my perspective of everything I see and hear. When His glory is loosed on us, we manifest it to reach and benefit others, then they manifest it and it becomes a gift of glory that we give back to our Father.
My friend, cry out as Moses did, ” Show me your glory Lord. Please use me as a vessel of your glory Lord that I may serve you fully to reach others and then bring that glory back to you. I surrender all that I am to you. May your glory rain over me. In Jesus’ name. Amen”
May His glory rain on you and through you my friend.May you one day stand before him and say:
“My Father, I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.”