Where the Heck is the Glory?

Posted: December 17, 2013 in beautiful
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m kinda wondering where the glory is?

Luke tells us that at the Christmas event the angels sang:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Is glory in the highest?  I tend to live down among the lowest; I don’t see it all that much. Where in the heck is the promised glory?

Last Thursday night the San Diego Chargers beat the Denver Broncos! For us in San Diego, that’s a bit of glory!

Glory is defined as a high honor earned by notable achievements.

Chargers 27; Bronco’s 20 is a notable achievement. This season, the Broncos are averaging 39 points a game. San Diego held them to 20. Glory for that!

I’ve myself, have experienced similar glory to Phillip Rivers and the Chargers.

During my glory days, I won the ping pong tournament in my gym class. I’m hoping to one day be inducted into the High School Ping Pong Hall of Fame. That’s my one shot at glory.

There is a second definition of glory. Beside coming from notable achievement, glory is also marked by magnificence,  great beauty.

The sunsets this fall in San Diego have been glorious, beautiful. When I see them, I feel like I see a little sliver of the glory of God.

If you stop and think about it; there is a deep  mystery in the glory of God, because in Jesus, glory got redefined. The Bible word for exalt or glorify (doxa) actually means to lift up on high.

Glory is putting the quarterback on the teams shoulders and lifting him high.

Glory is putting the team on the podium so everyone can see them.

But for Jesus, his glory involved him coming down low, to earth as a baby,  living a lowly human life. And  If Jesus was lifted up at all on earth, it was on a cross where really he was, put down.

Christmas glory is a great reversal, a coming low, before being lifted high.

What we mean by the glory of God in Christ is this: Jesus, the humble servant, the underdog, the little baby made glory something earthly, fleshly, broken and weak. Jesus was dominated on a bloody cross in order to bring a efficacious, salvific, redemptive, glory to us.

Christ glory? It’s gory!

The movie Lone Survivor is coming out January 10. It is the story of a  gun battle, four Navy Seals fighting with the Taliban in Afganistan in June of 2005.

The lone survivor, Marcus Luttrel, eaned a Navy Cross for his actions there.

That’s glory: Never giving up; never surrendering;  the last man standing, broken body and spirit,  crawling to safety.

The same for God. God earned  his glory,  battling for us, being crushed.

Jesus earned his glory by acts of valor, in the war zone of our hearts, by being the lone survivor of death, by being a braveheart, by heroically dying for and thus saving the whole world.

But it is even deeper, with Christ, this glory thing.  God’s glory resides in his very nature. Glory, magnificence, beauty is his very character. We train glory into Navy seals. God  has always had glory, installed, within himself.

God is a kind of magnificent without doing anything.  His love, his sacrifice, his humility – it’s hard wired into him; it’s built in to him; it’s just who he is!

Cool!  Therefore, we hold God in the highest position. But weirdly he doesn’t hold on to that. He gives it away.

At Christmas, we sing, Glory to God in the highest,” but at the end of his life, Jesus? He gave his glory to us!” Where is glory? In us who believe!

John 17:20-23 This is Jesus’s high priestly prayer just before he died.

“My prayer is not for them alone. [His followers]  I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, [us] 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one…

Wow and super-wow! Jesus said he has given us, the ones who believe, the glory God gave him, in order to bring us into oneness with God.

Jesus glory is shared with us!  This is incredible.

We make it all about God, and we should, and Jesus turns around and he makes it about us too!

This isn’t taught enough.

It needs to be.

God values us, cares for us, loves us so much he gives us his honor, his reputation, his beauty, his glory!

I can relate to this. My wife, Linda, works as a university archivist.

I like telling people that. Linda is an important person. You know you are important when you tell people your title, and they say, “What?”

Archivists are the people who don’t know what you want but who know how to get it. And they like the smell of old books.

It gives me glory to be married to such a bonafide, card-carrying, record-loving, profession nerd.

Except  that our entire garage is alphabetized and stored in labeled, museum quality, acid free boxes.

In the same way, being in the family of the brilliant, intelligent, accomplished, savior Jesus,  being the sons and daughters of God, through Christ — this gives us … His  glory!

We need to hear this. Some of us tend toward saying  things like, “Oh, I’m nothing,” and think we are being humble. “Oh, I’m no big deal. I’m don’t count for much. I haven’t done anything.”

There is a huge problem with these kinds of comments. They are bad theology. When we belittle ourselvesnwe belittle what God has made and what God has redeemed

When we downplay our significance,  we downplay the glory we have inherited from Jesus!

Jesus went to war for us. He draped us in glory. We are the inheritors of his honor. We are not nobodies!

It is so hard for some of us to feel good about ourselves.

Many of us, at times, hate  ourselves, put ourselves down, punish ourselves.

Why? We have had our glory burned away by life and stolen from us by the horrible choices that we a have made and the horrific, destructive choices of  others.

Life, our reactions to it, our choices, others choices — it  has a way of making us feel ugly and small and tarnished and unimportant.

People, even family, sometimes communicate to us that we are flawed, the problem, shameful. People use us, they harm us, they burn down our  psychological flooring and the fire the very floor joists propping our psyches up.

We may have had this happen to us. We may have been  burned by someone, our mental flooring may now be damaged — unstable — but we are not burned down. We are are not nothing!

In Christ, we who believe are the children of God, charred by life’s fire perhaps but we share the glory of the father, and we also shine with a fire from above, the HS which  fills us with forgiveness,  gifts with power, destines us for eternity.

“Nothing!” No, we Christians are priests and royals, we are something very special.

Lorde, the New Zealand singer-songwriter, in her hit song “Royals,”  sings “We will never be royals,” but we who trust Christ — we already are!

Paul himself writes to us: 2 Corinthians 3:18

And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplatethe Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

Face it, accept it, revel in it , own it.  In Christ, we Christians are being transformed. We are changing for the good, we are coming alive to a new us, a new creature, a newly glorified being.

Few birds have a more striking array of plumage than the peacock, but when they are born, they are just  yellow and brown and lanky.  But God is the God who turns ugly chicks into beautiful, mature peacocks!

We can honestly, sincerely sing,  “Glory to God in the highest, because he brings glory to us in the lowest chick, and the lowest form of  us.

In Christ, God has put fancy feathers on us too .

This all true. So there is this: How do we act out our glory?

To live in glory we must never again say we are nothing. Jesus never put himself down.  We must by our wills put a stop to hating ourselves. We must not minimize our importance. We must not compare ourselves to others. We are children of God. We count. We make a difference. 

We must work hard on not putting others down. Even when we correct a child or employee, we need to find ways to give them value. We need to practice giving others credit for stuff even if it was originally our idea.  We must learn to let other people have a chance to be the star!  We must practice being like Jesus, empowering others; sharing the glory!

Lastly we must start choosing to live out our uniqueness. We must boldly begin to be who we are, in public. We must own our personalities, wear then on the outsides of ourselves, and give them. We must never  apologize for who we are, but instead be the bit of the glory of God that God has made us to be. 

Where is that glory?

It’s right here, in us!

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