READ: Psalm 28, Isaiah 43-45, John 21, Acts 7
CREATED FOR GLORY
Deep within every human is the desire for significance. We want to live lives that matter, lives that count for something, lives that make a difference. It is a comfort to every believer to realize that God has created us for glory. It is a corrective to us all that the glory we were created for is God’s, not our own. The desire to be glorified is wayward; the desire for God to be glorified in us is true. We have been chosen for this very purpose (Isaiah 43:7); we have been created in order to bring God glory.
The quest to glorify God without glorifying ourselves is a delicate one. We carry both motives deep within us. There is a genuine longing in followers of Jesus to see Him exalted in all the earth, even while we wrestle down our desire to share in that glory–even if indirectly. We make all kinds of promises to Jesus and break most of them along the way. Jesus is not overly impressed with the promises of man; He knows how prone we are to breaking our verbal commitments.
Peter stands in for us all–promising to die with Jesus only moments before denying Him publicly. Post-resurrection Jesus asks Peter: “Do you agape Me?” Peter responds: “Lord, You know that I phileo You.” Jesus is asking Peter: “Do you love Me with the love that will sacrifice all, that will give up all glory, that will be satisfied in being a nothing that I might be everything?” Peter responds: “Jesus, You know my folly. You know I have brotherly affection for You. You know my love is as weak as it is real. You know I still want to share in Your glory.” Jesus asks again: “Do you agape Me?” Peter responds: “Lord, You know I only phileo You.” And then the dagger: “Peter, do you only phileo Me?” And Peter in honest grief says: “Lord, you know all things–You know I only phileo You.” Jesus then, loving Peter and his broken honesty, says, “Follow Me” (John 21:15-19)!
In order to get us to the place where we are ready and able to give Him all the glory, Jesus has to break us down. The first step in the process is the admittance that we live very much for our own glory–no matter who we are or how humble we appear to others. Once we have been shamed (and often it takes a public failure on our part to even be self-aware how glory-covetous we are), we are able to back away from empty promises and say to Jesus: “You know my divided heart. You know how I long for my own glory next to Yours. Jesus, have mercy on me. I will not make empty promises; I will just try to obey.” If we can get there–broken willingness to obey, willingness to be led by others, willingness to follow Jesus uniquely and simply–then Jesus is ready to be glorified in us. It is only the broken that Jesus trusts with His glory.