WHY DOES GLORY MATTER?
After reading that, you may have some questions. “OK, Paul, I recognize that God is glorious and that his glory is important…but how?” I want to dedicate the second half of this essay to practical application.
Here are six implications that the doctrine of glory has in and on our everyday lives:
1. You and I are hardwired by God for glory.
People are glory-oriented creatures. Animals are not. People are attracted to glorious things, whether it’s an exciting drama or sports game, an enthralling piece of music or the best meal ever. Animals live by instinct and exist to survive. We live with a glory hardwiring and chase bigger and better things.
God built this glory orientation into us; it’s not sinful or against God’s will to be attracted to glorious things. Because of this glory orientation, our lives will always be shaped by the pursuit of some kind of glory. You and I will always be chasing something to satisfy the glory hunger that God designed for us to live with.
How were your decisions yesterday influenced by your glory hardwiring?
2. God created this glorious world to point to his glory.
God intentionally placed us in a world jam-packed with glory. From trees to flowers to mountains; from mashed potatoes to steak to lemonade; from thunderstorms to sunsets to snowfalls—all of these things were designed by God to tingle our glory sensors. But, it’s important to understand that every created glory is meant by God to function as a spiritual GPS that points us to the only glory that will ever satisfy our hearts, the glory of God.
Imagine taking a family vacation to Disney World, and 30 miles out, you spot a sign on the side of the road with the logo and name of the resort. It would be silly to stop at the sign and have your family vacation on the side of the road! So it is with the glory of God in creation—it’s only a sign, directing you to the source. Don’t stop at the sign.
What can you do to be more aware of the glorious world that God created for you to live in?
3. Only God’s glory can satisfy the glory hunger in our hearts.
If there exists within each of us a hunger for glory, then one could argue that everything we think, desire, say and do is done out of a quest for glory. We all want what is glorious in our lives—whether that’s the fleeting glorious pleasure of a meal, the glory of recognition by peers or supervisors, or participating in the glorious work of the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Where we chase after glory can vary, but one thing is for certain: This hunger for glory will never ever be satisfied by created things. Even if you could experience the most glorious situations, locations, relationships, experiences, achievements or possessions in this life, your heart still would not be satisfied. Creation has no capacity whatsoever to bring contentment to your heart. Only God can satiate our hunger, and in satiating our hunger, give peace and rest to our hearts.
Where in creation are you looking to satisfy the glory hunger that only God can satisfy?
4. Sin turns you and I into glory thieves.
The original design was for human beings to live in a glorious world and exist in perfect relational harmony with a glorious God. But sin corrupted the original design, and now you and I have the desire to live for ourselves (see 2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Instead of living for the glory of God, we try to steal that glory for ourselves.
We demand to be in the center of our world. We take credit for what only God could produce. We want to be sovereign. We want others to worship us. We establish our own kingdom and punish those who break our laws. We tell ourselves that we’re entitled to what we don’t deserve, and we complain when we don’t get whatever it is that we want. It’s a glory disaster.
How have you attempted to steal glory from God this week?
5. We inaccurately point the finger of blame and prolong our glory dysfunction.
It’s tempting to blame the glory war that rages within us on outside elements and culprits: If only our culture wasn’t so perverse; if only the media didn’t promote sinful priorities; if only our government was more committed to morality. Sure, outside factors are strong and influential, but the glory war that rages within our hearts is first what attracts us to those outside elements.
Within the heart of every sinner is a deep and abiding glory dysfunction. Living for the glory of self is more natural to us than acknowledging and living for the glory of God. In our self-deception, we tell ourselves that we really can satisfy our hunger by drinking from dry wells. If we want to solve our glory dysfunction, we have to get to the heart of the dysfunction—which is, in fact, our heart.