Tag Archive for glorify God

Earthen Vessels

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed. (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, NASB) 

There was given me a thorn in the flesh…I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10, NASB)

Servant of God,
do you want your Lord to use you
heart, soul, mind, and body in His service?
Do you long for Him to glorify Himself through you?

Realize that He will use all of you –
not just your strengths, but your weaknesses,
not just your successes, but your failures,
not just your talents, but your glaring inadequacies,
not just your gains, but your losses,
not just your joys, but your griefs,
not just your health, but your sickness and suffering,
not just your wholeness, but your brokenness,
not just your blessings, but all the injustice and abuse you suffer.

He will show everyone that you are only an earthen vessel
so that the needy glorify,
not you,
but Him.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: Glorify Your Name
Printed Music & Lyrics

Empty Glory

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4, NIV)

The original word translated above as “vain conceit” literally means “empty glory.” It contrasts with God’s glory, which is the glow of His presence – God showing himself in all of His beauty, power, and goodness. The Scriptures teach that we share in His glory through His Spirit in us.

We, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18, NIV)

This is our true glory: Christ living in us, showing the glow of His presence, His beauty, power, and goodness through us.

But Satan will tempt us to settle for “empty glory.” According to the Greek lexicon, it is “empty” in the sense of being “without content, without basis, without truth; without profit; foolish, senseless.” That’s an accurate description of the self-centered glory we tend to seek. It’s an accurate description of selfish pride.

Pride comes in a variety of styles and colors; you can find one to fit your own personality. My personal choice is humble pride. It is soft-spoken, tastefully adorned in understatement. It does not boast or even posture. It just meditates on self. It dreams about self. Like all forms of pride, the inner vision that drives it is not God or truth, but self-glorification.

Selfish pride is like lust: in the dark privacy of our hearts, it can stimulate and energize. But when it is brought to the light and exposed in public, it is easily seen as a ridiculous lie. What had puffed us up now makes us hide and choke in shame. Its glory is empty glory – without content, without basis in truth, foolish, senseless.

When Satan tempts you to savor this empty glory, see it as the cheap imitation it is. Turn away from it and embrace your true glory, the presence of God himself with you and in you.

When I turn away from myself and look to God, it’s as if someone has opened the windows of my mind and heart. Now the sun is shining, and the air is fresh. Other people float into my heart on the breeze. I pray for them and love them, and in the process I love and worship Christ all the more.

Prayer and praise shed the light of truth on who we are. They keep life in perspective. They liberate us from the smallness of pride into the wide-open wonder of God’s love.

He is with you now and always. Don’t let Satan distract you from Him. Discover and enjoy the wonder of the Living Christ.

Listen and sing:
Hymn: O Living God
Printed Music & Lyrics

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

I’ve been thinking about you lately and praying for you. I know you’re bothered by physical problems these days, trying to recover from surgery. Mom told me about the doctor’s report, and I know that’s hard to face. I also know you’re struggling to cope with a memory that you sense isn’t as good as it once was.

In this morning’s devotions, I read Acts 20:17-38. It’s one of my favorite passages—one of the most moving in the New Testament. Paul is on his way back to Jerusalem at the end of his last missionary journey. While he doesn’t know what will happen, he senses that trouble and possibly the end of his life lie just ahead.

So at the last minute, he decides to sail to Ephesus, one of the cities in which he invested a good portion of his life. He calls the elders of the church to him and there tells them how much he loves them. They are tearful as he says they will never see his face again. He explains that the Holy Spirit has revealed that affliction awaits him in Jerusalem. Then in verse 24 he says:

“But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus” (para.).

Dad, maybe your situation is similar to Paul’s. You don’t know what lies ahead, but you know you have afflictions to deal with. I pray God will be close to you and help you make Paul’s testimony your own: that you release your life to Him, and all that matters is finishing your life’s work with joy.

I’m discovering for myself that the more constantly I look to the Lord throughout the day, the more strength, guidance, and deep peace He gives me moment by moment. No matter how bad things seem to get, there are no surprises to Him. He’s been there ahead of us, preparing the way, working it out for our good.

I’m reminded of the hymn:

He giveth more grace
when the burdens grow greater;
He sendeth more strength
when the labors increase.
To added affliction
He addeth His mercy;
To multiplied trials,
His multiplied peace.*

Our physical and mental limitations can take many things from us, but we have one privilege that can never, ever be taken away: the privilege of glorifying God. I pray that you can find joy in glorifying God no matter what comes.

I love you, Dad, and appreciate you more than I can say. My thoughts and prayers are with you always.

Your son.

*From “He Giveth More Grace,” words by Annie Johnson Flint, music by Hubert Mitchell. © 1941, renewed 1969 by Lillenas Publishing Co. Adm. by Music Services.