May 8, 2012 at 2:34am
Tonight I concluded that God is a very quirky fellow. He gave me tonight’s topic for this series yesterday. Amidst the euphoria of a whole day spent in praise, He told me the first answer to what Jesus would do in the world. He spoke the words that inspired it through Jared yesterday morning. He told me that He made us to be glorious. Today, He broke me down in tears. God made me to be glorious, but I know that I am so very small. I can see the edges of the grand designs, pick out the intricate patterns of the pieces I have viewed. I can see some of the places where I am supposed to fit. To be quite frank, it terrifies me down to my toes.
The several hours of crying that resulted from my bright idea to spend a little time with Jesus today, listening to music instead of watching reruns of old SG-1 shows while I worked, did not seem to be an auspicious way to begin gathering my thoughts on a piece about being glorious. It did not seem fruitful to remember that there are many people depending on me now, and I am finding I do not care. Not that I do not care about them, or what happens to them, but that I don’t care if I don’t live up to their expectations of me. I find I am a lot more concerned that I am at present failing Jesus as the expectations of other folks distract me. That is a hard realization, as some of those expectations are in line with what God is calling me to do, and some of them are not. It is going to take some serious sorting out on my part.
It also did not seem particularly useful to realize that God seems to be pushing me at something big, eventually anyway, to realize that I am very small, and there is still so much I need to learn. As I told Corey earlier, who am I to say what Jesus would do in a given situation today? So, I cried. A little while ago, I had to laugh as I recalled something from the God Talk series I did earlier this year. That too began with grand ideas, excitement and an idea in my head of the purpose of the series. That too had a day, a few days after I began, of breaking and tearing down barriers within myself so that God had room to talk to me. Like I said, God is a quirky fellow, and at least this time I’ve had a little practice so I could honestly say to my wonderful friend Kathy, God’s smacking me over the head, but that’s okay, because I know what comes next.
Here it is. God calls us to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. Not necessarily in his footsteps as in go to Jerusalem and walk to Golgotha, or stroll along the Sea of Galilee, or visit Nazareth. I am sure for many folks that journey is one of discovery, but it is not required for us to follow Jesus. God calls us to become Christ like, to allow Him to conform our actions to God’s purpose and God’s plan. The first step in that is to recognize that God calls us to be glorious. God did not make us to be small and insignificant. Jesus did not walk the earth leaving no trace behind Him. His disciples did not stand as silent wallflowers waiting for the world to meet them on their own ground. Thirteen men walked the land and set the world on fire. They were glorious, and because they were glorious, they are still changing the world to this very day two thousand years later.
This is where the trouble usually begins for most folks. We learn as Christians that we are to be humble. We learn that we are to be meek. We learn that we are all broken sinners in a fallen world. We have a hard time reconciling those obvious truths with the idea that we are indeed meant to be glorious. Many of us never do quite wrap our heads around these seemingly conflicting ideas. We spend our lives in quiet desperation, knowing God calls us to be something more, but unable to understand what it is or how to get there. Alternatively, we embrace the idea of being glorious, seek to accomplish that goal through our ambition, forgetting that we are broken sinners, and cannot be glorious in ourselves. In both cases, God weeps because the world is waiting for us to be what He made us to be.
I think the key to this dichotomy is the story of Jesus’ first miracle in John, turning water into wine. This was a small, unseen miracle. It was a simple thing for Christ to do. It served his mother, and the host of the wedding. It did not seek glory, and yet, the wine was glorious from the account in the Bible. More importantly, the act was a glory to God. All of the acts of Jesus and the Apostles run much the same way. They did not seek glory. The Apostles did not deny their sinful nature or their frailty as human beings. They simply acknowledged that God was glorious, and sought to do His will in all things, regardless of the odds against it. None of them glorified themselves. They gave glory to Jesus Christ and God as they walked and sailed the land spreading the Good News of salvation. They did not seek to impress, nor demand stature in the eyes of men. They did not cry “Lord I am not good enough, big enough, strong enough so I’ll just stay home, send someone else.” They heard the command of Jesus to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and to the ends of the earth, and they went.
Christ did not glorify Himself. He gave glory to the Father as He walked the earth spreading miracles and signs. He healed the sick, though it flew in the face of traditions. He spent time with prostitutes and tax collectors, though the lofty frowned on Him. He held the children, spoke to the lost and broken, and healed the hated. He challenged the authorities, spoke truth in the halls of learning, and rebuked the devil in the desert. Not because He was trying to be glorious, but simply because it was what His father had sent him here to do. In doing so, unafraid of what that meant for his own life, He became glorious, the light and salvation of mankind.
These were but men, even the Christ who was divine, limited himself so He could become one of us, to suffer for us so we would not have to suffer always. Some of them were learned men, like Luke, and some were simple fishermen like Peter. Some were despised agents of Caesar like Matthew, and some were zealots like Judas. They were all sinners, they had all fallen short of the glory of God, save the One. Yet, because they were willing, because they gave their all to Christ and to his Father, God made them glorious in the Spirit.
It is the same with us. We know that Thomas doubted, we know that Mark turned back. We know that Peter denounced Christ, and Paul was Saul who persecuted those who followed Christ. We know that some who received the Spirit fought amongst themselves, backslid into sins, bickered over who could be a Christian and what they would have to do. We know that those first Christians were imperfect men and women filled with fears and insecurities. In spite of that, the Bible tells us, by following the Son, God made them glorious through the Holy Spirit He poured out on them.
So, my friends, as my weeping came to a close, I finally understood. There is no arrogance in recognizing that God made us for His grand and lofty purpose, as long as we humbly recognize that it takes our obedience, and the Spirit delivered into the world when Christ ascended to make us glorious. It is okay to know that compared to the plans He has for us we are small, just as long as we remember that God is big.
Are you ready to step out on faith and let God make you glorious? Pray for it, and stand ready to receive. Be blessed and be a blessing.Apostle, Christ, Christian Living, Christian Walk, God, Holy Spirit, Jerusalem, Jesus, Jesus Christ, Samaria, What Would Jesus Do
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