Spiritual gluttons or useful servants?
Glorifying God is about so much more than pointing people in God’s general direction. It’s about revealing His character so they will recognize His worth, find their salvation, sustenance, and strength, and return to Him His due in sincere worship.
We can’t do that—we don’t do that—when we utter public words of praise, raise our hands to signify surrender, and then say, do, and treat people however we want.
I’m afraid we sometimes do more damage by taking this arm tackle approach to glorifying God than if we didn’t make any attempt at all.
Oswald Chambers said, “A Christian worker is one who perpetually looks in the face of God and then goes forth to talk to people.”
We often act like interacting with people is the inconvenience we have to endure to get to the “good stuff” of worship—quiet reflection, leisurely prayer sessions, emotional song—but that’s a very selfish point of view. Those aspects of worship are more for us than God.
The “good stuff” of worship, the part that actually garners for God the praise and recognition He deserves, happens when we are out, about, and among others, saying things, doing things, and treating people in a way that reveals His true character—love, grace, mercy, justice, compassion, truth, faithfulness, etc. Because His glory shines brightest in darkness, interaction with people who struggle with sin like we all do often provides the best opportunity to show the world Who He is by letting His strength be made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
But we miss the mark more times than we hit it. Why?
We don’t do the work.
Anyone who looks in the face of God—really looks in His face and doesn’t just tilt their head upward in false piety or narrow academic pursuit—comes away both humbled and encouraged, painfully aware of their own failures, limitations, and arrogance and joyfully aware of God’s sufficiency, grace, and goodness.
Like Moses after Mount Sanai, they glow (Exodus 34:29), but from the inside.
Friends, we may think we’re walking closely with God, but if we savor and stir conflict, if we crave position and jockey for power, if we value winning over restoration, if we feel qualified to judge, if we criticize, mock, or put others down to feel better about ourselves, if we hold grudges, if we oppress, if we wound…well, we aren’t walking as closely with Him as we think we are.
We haven’t done the work.
We haven’t looked God in the face.
We couldn’t possibly.
Spiritual gluttons who fancy ourselves servants of His glory, many of us are still making much of ourselves. We might be experiencing plenty of the “good stuff” we crave, but we aren’t contributing to anything significant or lasting.
We aren’t glorifying God or building His Kingdom.
Be careful. It’s possible to say, “To God be the glory” while blocking the light.