J.S. Park

RSS

Posts tagged with "glory"

The next time you walk into a room full of people, I want you to see how they talk and interact and exchange and tell stories and make jokes. Simply watch, listen, soak it in.

Soon you’ll see there’s a hidden anxiety underneath all their language, a deeper sort of quest for each person to validate their individual existence. You’ll see this web of tug-of-war where everyone is pulling, clawing, scratching, grasping for this weight.

It’s like there’s a secret limited stash of golden currency in the air, and everyone’s fighting for it by telling the better story, bragging about their bank account, trying to be the funny guy, showing off their intelligence, dropping famous names, wearing a name, holding up false bravado, pretending to be a mystery, masking their voice in tight controlled expressions of eloquence.

You know what this is: insecurity. Everyone’s fighting for glory to cover the emptiness, that vacuum fracture. And even when they get the glory from that room, it will never be enough: because we weren’t made for the temporary glory of this earth. Our true glory is beyond the room, outside one another, from on high.

- J.S. from this post

Aug 4

What Does It Mean To Glorify God? A Mega-Post On The Glory of God

Anonymous asked:

Hello Pastor! I love your blog! I was wondering what It meant to do everything for the glory of God? Also, if it’s possible, can this be anonymous? Thank you for all your encouraging post! They’ve helped me so much!

 

Hey my friend, I totally love this question.  Please allow me to point you to a few posts here.  Please feel free to skip through them:

- Does Everything Have To Glorify God? — A Mega-Post On When Idolatry Is Not Idolatry

- How Do I Humble Myself When I Get Attention?

And I preached an entire message on what it means to glorify God, which is still my second most downloaded sermon (though perhaps more out of curiosity than anything else) —

- Sermon Podcast: The Relentless, Reckless, Furious Glory of God

 

I know we tend to over-use these phrases in our Christianese vocab:

- "We want to glorify You."

- “We want to bring You the glory.”

- “We do everything for the glory of God.”

- “Dropping off food for the homeless from my jetpack is not for my glory.”

But really, when we’re asked what it means to “glorify God,” we get all kinds of unclear ideas.  So here a few things to consider, and as always, please feel free to skip around.

 

1) The word glory in Hebrew is chabod, which means “weight” and implies a kind of qualitative value.

When we glorify anything, we are giving it a deeper value, as if to say it is critical to our existence.  So when a movie “glorifies war,” it’s attributing some kind of substantial worth (whether good or bad) to the idea of war.

The same applies to our concept of God, or money, or sex, or doctrine, or morality, or reputation.  Anything can be glorified.  And whether we choose to or not, we are always glorifying something.

 

2) The story of Adam and Eve tells us we once had all the glory we could ever want, but because of sin, we are now disconnected from the source of all glory.

God is the truest, purest glory in the universe.  We were made to be filled by His glory and His alone.  In sermons when I talk about glory, I sometimes say as a joke, “God is not just the only weight, but He’s overweight.  He’s more than all we need.”  When humanity turned away from God, as the Genesis story goes, we were not merely disobedient: we also disconnected from our true glory, the weight of our very existence. 

We once had the voice of God constantly telling us we were loved, approved, affirmed, and validated.  But we chose apart from God, and ever since we’ve been looking for glory in everything else that isn’t God.

 

3) Nearly every human problem can be tracked back to the desperate search for our own glory: but all human glory is temporary, hence the problem.

The next time you walk into a room full of people, I want you to see how they talk and interact and exchange and tell stories and make jokes.  Simply watch, listen, soak it in.

Soon you’ll see there’s a hidden anxiety underneath all their language, a deeper sort of quest for each person to validate their individual existence.  You’ll see this web of tug-of-war where everyone is pulling, clawing, scratching, grasping for this weight.

It’s like there’s a secret limited stash of golden currency in the air, and everyone’s fighting for it by telling the better story, bragging about their bank account, trying to be the funny guy, showing off their intelligence, dropping famous names, wearing a name, holding up false bravado, pretending to be a mystery, masking their voice in tight controlled expressions of eloquence. 

You know what this is: insecurity.  Everyone’s fighting for glory to cover the emptiness, that vacuum fracture.  And even when they get the glory from that room, it will never be enough: because we weren’t made for the temporary glory of this earth.  Our true glory is beyond the room, outside one another, from on high.

Part of the story of Christianity is that humanity has been locating their glory into the wrong things — a problem called idolatry — and Jesus came to relocate our glory in the true God once more.

 

4) Taking glory for yourself only makes you smaller, more unstable, and less than God means for you to be.

Think of every selfish person who needs to have the best story in the room.  Think of every glory-hog who needs to be the center of attention.

Even if they’re physically attractive: there’s something about stealing glory that feels inherently wrong.  When a person praises their own efforts, it no longer feels praiseworthy.

All of us naturally know that self-glory is ugly.  And when you throw your entire weight into money or sex or substance: it’s always collapsible, because these things are temporary. 

There is only one who could ever hold up our endless search for glory, and nothing else is really ever enough.  The problem is that in our current state, we’re absolutely unworthy of such glory.  So then, this is why Jesus had to come for us.  And the fact that he came for us is why he deserves the weight of all glory.  Which brings us to —

 

5) The reason God deserves all the glory is because He gave it up for us.  And when you give it up to Him: you find yourself.

Imagine with me, that you are God.  You made people to love you, know your love, and to love each other.

But they turn against you and turn against each other.  And all that they once had in you: they look for it from other people, either using them or killing them or both. 

So what do you do?

Certainly you wouldn’t enter the world as one of your own creations, stripped of your own divine power, and walk among these thieves and murderers.  Definitely you wouldn’t take on their weaknesses and infirmities and temptations.  Of course you wouldn’t dare to teach them the true nature of their original design: that they’re to love you, to love each other, that there is another world beyond this one.  And you wouldn’t give up your own glory on a cross so that everyone could regain the glory that they already gave up themselves.

But this is what Jesus did.

In Philippians 2, we’re told that the Son of God did not consider equality with God, but became a servant for us and took on human form, and in the end even humbled himself to die on a cross.  For us.  And he was raised again in power, for us.  So then every knee will bow, every tongue will confess: that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

I know that some of this is strange and esoteric.  But consider: What is real glory?  It’s not to gain for yourself.  It’s to sacrifice out of humility and love.  All the true glorious stories of heroes are those who died in battle for their people, those who gave up their lives so that many would be saved.  In death, they gained glory.  And Jesus is the ultimate glorious one. 

 

The Christian life then is partially like hot-potato.  I’m always giving up the glory and deflecting it to Jesus.  This is what it means to “bring God the glory.”  As I’ve said before, Anything good in me is God in me, and anything bad in me, God is working on that.  My life is to point to the giver.  All the credit goes immediately to Him.  Like John the Baptist said in John 3:30, "He must increase, I must decrease."  

When I locate the glory back to God, then I’m no longer locating my hope in money, marriage, or myself.  I understand that everything good comes from God, and that he paid a price to give me back the true glory that we once dismissed.  So when God is my glory, I can become more unshakeable, more pure, more true, more myself.  I can actually enjoy things like money and marriage instead of using them to fill my own emptiness.  I no longer live under the tyranny of self-dictatorship, in which I falsely believe I’m the “main character” of my own story.  Because God is the main character, and I’m just a cameo, and I’m good with that. 

The amazing thing to me is that even though we turned away from God’s glory, He still wants us to be part of His story.  The reason why I throw my entire weight upon Jesus is because he is not only unshakeable, but he died for me that I might have a home in him. 

When you can today, please take some time to read Philippians 2, Isaiah 6, and Isaiah 40.  Read them slowly.  Breathe in the words of God.  And consider the immensity of the one who made you.  You’ll know that two things are true, two very humbling things: that 1) God is so huge, so vast, so overwhelmingly incredible, but 2) He is also so close, so intimate, and so very near you.

— J.S.

A lot of times I imagine God trying to get our attention with a startling beam of sunlight through a slit of glass in a dusty room while we’re rushing on to the next thing, because He wants us to slow down and savor the life we won’t ever get again. I think probably I’ve walked by that sunbeam too many times, drowning in the motion of my autopilot and darting past the perfect swirl of His canvas. But so He has enough grace to draw the twisting fleck of dust in the beam again. Maybe one day soon we will know the artist of that persistent sun. In the silence we might find Him, in the darkness to embrace His certain grip in our trembling hand. In His grace we might crawl up that soft beam, where there is glory.
— J.S.

I think we exaggerate the battle of ‘self-glory’ and ‘idolatry’ and ‘vanity’ to a ridiculous level, so that Satan is laughing his butt off when the church is hanging their head in shame over nothing.

Should we be consciously seeking to glorify the Good Lord every single moment? Sure. But that should really be a way of life instead of a neurotic, twitchy, self-absorbed paranoia. Humility is an attitude, not a dang checklist. To be humble is to begin in a place of gratitude that we even have a voice at all.

- J.S. from this post

May 9

Is there any greater glory than living for the one who made us? I cannot live for my own glory. It is much too small, too vain, unstable. It’s like holding a candle to the sun.

- J.S.

Aug 7

Question: How Can God “Demand” My Worship?

Anonymous asked:

So, the whole “I can’t believe in a God who demands worship” card. Any advice on how to talk about this when the other party won’t believe/understand that we were created for God? And that we do better when we work to glorify Him because He is love and because when we glorify Him things just work out better?


You know: I totally understand what you mean when you say “God demands worship,” because you mean that the nature of God is demanding of praise.  But the one thing you must know, dear friend, is that God Himself never ever once demands worship from people.  Not once. 

Before you bring out the stake and lighter fluid to burn the heretic, here we go. The first time I heard this “God doesn’t demand worship” in seminary, I actually didn’t believe it.  Surely at least one time in the Bible, God at least asks for praise — right?

So then the professor spent the next four hours exegeting the entire fricking Bible for every instance of worship, and we slowly noticed that each time people worshiped, it was almost always spontaneous.  Never coerced.  God doesn’t even make a case for Himself or mildly ask for it — it just happens out of the gladness of peoples’ hearts.

I really wouldn’t go down this road of Worship God because you just better okay. Again, I know what you mean by this: of course God is worthy of praise.  Of course one day, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Jesus is Lord.  But only pagan deities have ever demanded stuff.  Even in the Old Testament, when the Israelites had to sacrifice animals in the Temple, this was never about worship: it was about the atonement of sin.  When the people saw they were eternally forgiven by sacrificing an animal (instead of like, you know, themselves), they were grateful.  That’s when worship happened.

For your second statement, I think you’d have to define a few terms.  When we glorify God, you say, “things just work out better.”  But a non-Christian would absolutely disagree.  If glorifying God means you can’t sleep with anyone you want, nor do drugs and get drunk, plus you have to love your enemy and forgive everyone, then no, a non-believer would not say that’s better. 

Really we need to show the other end of this equation.  God does not want us to have a shallow superficial life that goes halfway.  God ordains marriage to glorify Him because a covenantal promise between a man and a woman that is grounded by total mutual security always leads to the best sex ever.  Sleeping around is like a runner-up prize.  God ordains no mind-altering substances because it’s a little difficult to have loving relationships, hold down a job, and have joy and peace when your brain is desperately fixated on the next hit.  I could keep going, but you see what I mean. 

Please also don’t hear me as saying, “If I follow God’s rules, it all works out fine for me.”  I believe there must be a conscious decision to love God, love His Son, and lift up His name when we follow Him.  Otherwise it’s just blind legalism, which is exhausting and selfish.  You’re right in saying that we glorify God because He is love, and it’s only that very love which will break us beyond ourselves. 

If you really want to to explain to your friend why we should glorify God, then your friend needs to know the heart of the Gospel.  What Jesus came to do.  How Jesus lived, died, and rose again.  The more your friend hears this, the more the Holy Spirit will work, and by God’s grace, your friend will come to a place of surrender and worship.  Not demanded, but spontaneous.  I pray it happens.

How can you tell when you're actually living out your faith? Is it simply the fruits of the spirit gradually becoming apparent in your daily routine or does it look more radical?

Anonymous

So it looks we’ve set up a conflict here between fruits and radical living.  In other words: Is the Christian life just about personal holiness?  Or should I be fighting crime and rescuing slaves and beating up dictators?

Let’s be clear: The American church absolutely loves the whole personal holiness thing.  Almost every Christian book in your bookstore is about transformation, renewing your mind, a better you, “Gospel Centrality,” fixing your heart, tending to your emotions, and a bunch of other self-involved disciplines.  Not all these are bad, but the focus is obvious. 

Even missional work in America is considered a personal holiness thing.  I’ve heard it preached, “In the end you’ll grow closer to God and see what He’s doing for you.”  Again, not really wrong, but you see the implication.

We’ve very much disconnected God’s saving grace with His call to glorify His name.  When we stick a wedge between Grace and Glory, we’ve lost the Gospel. A lot of theologians want to set up Jesus and Paul like they were saying different things, but NO, they were not.  Jesus and Paul would both say Jesus is both the Gate and the Road.

I’ll put it simply, in sort of a rhyme:

The saving truth of God’s grace, the story of the cross, our redemption = LEADS TO = Empowerment for the glory of God, our sacred mission.

Most of us are in love with Jesus’ words but not so much his mission.  We like meditation and transformation and revelation but not suffering with Jesus for the sake of the Gospel. We do not intuitively embrace suffering for Jesus.  Therefore, you get the comfortable confines of an American church.  It is absolutely insane to think the majority of Americans understand the NT church; it’s freaking crazy out there.

So to answer your question: I’m not sure what particular convictions the Holy Spirit has given you about your journey, but the fruits of the Spirit will include you actually fulfilling the Great Commission. 

I’m not saying it’s 50-50 — I do believe that we must be resting in the glory of the Good News to really understand our purpose and His Story, so Prayer-Praise-Scripture is super-essential.  Then as you seek for yourself all the fruits of a God-centered holiness — the love, joy, peace, purity, and all the goodness in Him — this also means you’re Going, Making Disciples, and Giving for the Gospel.

Please don’t disconnect those things, and also check your heart that you’re not merely “doing to do.”  I believe God actually does care more about who you’re becoming, but out of your being will emerge the faithful doing.