One of the most constant and critical struggles we as believers have is balancing our God-given longing for greatness with striving for our own glory on earth. You were made to long for greatness. You were made to do earth-shattering, bondage-breaking, life-giving works. But the Bible makes it clear that when we overstep the boundary of greatness to glory we step outside of the abundant life God desires to give us. When we long to achieve greatness for our own fame and reputation, we load onto our shoulders a weight only God can bear. Living for your own glory will only lead you to a life of dissatisfaction, striving, burdens, and failure. So, let’s take some time today and cast the burden of achieving glory back onto the only person who deserves it and can bear it, our Savior King, Jesus Christ.
Philippians 2:9-11 says, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is the exalted One. He alone is the One True King. All of creation is under his rule and authority. God alone can bear the burden of glory. With glory comes great responsibility—responsibility you and I will never be able to bear. In Isaiah 42:8 God says, “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” Romans 11:36 says, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.” Jesus doesn’t want glory because he’s prideful or selfish. He is lifted up because he is the way to the Father. He’s not looking for control of our lives for selfish gain. He knows that when he takes the throne of our hearts, he can lead us into abundant life. Through Jesus we have restored relationship with our heavenly Father. Through Jesus our sins have been blotted out. You and I have been made clean in the sight of God. And we will live in eternal communion with God himself all by Jesus’ death and resurrection. It’s in living for his glory that we will find peace and purpose. And it’s only in living for his glory that the world will come to know the Father.
So, what does it look like to live for the glory of God? Living for God’s glory requires true humility. Humility isn’t acting as if you’re bad at things you are good at. You don’t have to turn away every kind or encouraging word that gets spoken to you. True humility is acknowledging God has given you the gifts and talents you possess and acting on that knowledge by living for God’s glory alone. True humility takes compliments and encouragement straight to God in the secret place, laying down any good thing you’ve done back at the feet of Jesus in worship. Again, you are meant for greatness. You are designed to live a life of effective and good work. Just don’t take credit where credit is not due.
How can you lead a life devoted to the glory of God? You must first begin by spending time encountering the glory of God for yourself. Psalm 97:1-5 says, “The Lord reigns, let the earth rejoice; let the many coastlands be glad! Clouds and thick darkness are all around him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around. His lightnings light up the world; the earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the Lord, before the Lord of all the earth.” God’s glory is here on the earth. All throughout Scripture we read of God’s glory displayed throughout creation. His glory is revealed in his love, in his nearness, and even in you as God’s crown of creation. Spend time meditating on how glorious God is. Spend time worshipping your King. When you encounter the glory of God consistently, your desires will naturally shift from living for yourself to living for him. Second, align your purposes with God’s purposes. Pursue relationships, work, fun, and community in light of your need to live for God’s glory. And lastly, spend time in God’s presence allowing the Spirit to mold and shape you. Make room for God to align your desires with his. Ask for the Spirit’s help every day as you work and play. Open yourself to his leading as he helps you pursue a life lived for the glory of God. God has a plan every day to use you for his kingdom. He has so many promises he longs for you to experience all day. Live for the glory of God and experience the abundant peace and joy he has planned for you.