Friday, December 20, 2013
Glory to God in the Highest
John 7:18 Those who speak on their own seek their own glory; but the one who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and there is nothing false in him.
From the time that the angels declared the arrival of the Christ-child and throughout his life, Jesus was constantly giving glory to God. Although he himself was God, he wanted the Father to get all the glory — literally the light, or the spotlight, to be on the one who sent him.
Jesus declared that this was the responsibility of those who were teachers. Unfortunately there were those who enjoyed the spotlight for themselves. Jesus wanted no part in those kinds of teacher, but instead wanted the glory, the light, to shine on his Father. Whatever Christ did, it was to glorify the Father. Therefore from the moment of his birth until his ascension into heaven, Jesus was constantly pointing the way to God.
I’m afraid that modern culture has taught us that getting the spotlight on ourselves is what life is all about. That fifteen minutes of fame! We have people these days who are not famous for anything that they have actually accomplished, but simply because they are able to garner attention. It’s creating a society in which getting attention — by any means — is seen as a good thing!
The cultural shift in terms of what we value is quite fascinating. When I was a child the heroes included astronauts, powerful political leaders, strong spiritual leaders, people who spoke up for the rights of others, etc. If you think about it, many of our heroes of the past really did turn our focus and our attention to God. The astronauts who saw the earth from sky for the first time were overwhelmed with her beauty and couldn’t imagine her creation without a Creator-God.
Some of the powerful political leaders tried to get all the attention for themselves and in doing so were the exact opposite of the image of God. In them we saw reflected the evil which can overwhelm an individual caught up in their own power and self-centeredness. Evil dictators who are overcome with their own sense of power are led to places of corruption and destruction of their own people because they refuse to give glory to God, but for those who choose to be a reflection of Christ, the result is quite the opposite. And most of those who spoke for the rights of others have spoken the very words of God found for us in the Bible.
But these days — we want the spotlight because any attention is considered good attention. There are those who desire to have the world talk about them and they will do just about anything for that to happen — good or bad. It is this overexposure of the spotlight that is creating a very self-glorifying society and Christians find themselves right in the middle of it all. The temptation as a follower of Christ is to gain attention for yourself!
What happens if preachers give-in to the culture of the day? Jesus had to consciously fight against it. Even in his day there were those who would surround certain teachers, following them and declaring them to be the ones they wanted to mimic. Jesus had to keep pointing the people toward his Father — and Jesus had to keep escaping from the crowds, recharging his batteries by spending time alone with God. This was the only way he could keep from the temptation to seek the spotlight for himself. He had to keep pointing the spotlight to the Father. Glory was to go toward God in the highest!!!! The same must be true of Christ-followers today — we must seek to intentionally turn the focus and spotlight, the glory on God in the highest.
This Christmas season let’s do everything that we can to put all the attention on God in the highest. He is the one who is worthy of glory and honor and praise. We must be intentional about being counter-cultural and reflecting his image (not ours) to a world that so desperately needs to experience God in the highest! Jesus is the Savior — not us!
Lord, we give you praise and glory today. Thank you for all you’ve done to save us and place before us a highway of holiness. Amen.