Glorify Thy Name
I had a beautiful weekend. My brother gave his life to Christ, my other brother from a couple of provinces away was here to witness it, and God is always and ever good. One line from the sermon clung like a burr, though, a blog post waiting to happen.
"God is glorifying Himself today."
If I step out of my upbringing and personal relationship with Christ, I can see how words like these might send a confusing message to those who don't know God. I mean, among human beings, glorifying ourselves is usually viewed in a negative light, as arrogance or boastfulness that no one really appreciates except the one guilty of it. If God is glorifying Himself, and the purpose of our existence is to glorify Him as His creation . . . does that mean He is an arrogant, boastful, and self-absorbed deity? Does that mean God reflects traits that we as humans view as wrong?
Here's the short answer—no.
The human view of self-glorification as a negative revolves around the key fact of human fallibility. If humans were perfect and therefore deserved glory, we might not see a problem with anyone who glorifies themselves. Self-glorification would simply be a statement of fact. Like, "My hair is blond," or "I am short."
But because humans are imperfect—because we all know that humans are lightyears and infinities away from perfection—self-glorification falls flat. Anyone who has the confidence to glorify their own works (not just to remark on them or take satisfaction in a job well done, mind you, but to GLORIFY and MAGNIFY themselves as something above others), rubs us the wrong way because of inherent hypocrisy. Not one of us is perfect or worthy or righteous or just or great. Not one of us deserves a shred of glory, and because of it, anyone who glorifies him- or herself must have something wrong. A hint of arrogance. A dash of self-absorption. A boastful fatal flaw.
The thing is, all that logic falls to pieces when God is the one glorifying Himself. Not because God operates outside of the morals of humility and meekness He's given us—He doesn't—but because He is perfect. He is inherently just and worthy and GREAT and deserving of all glory, so when He glorifies Himself, He's not being boastful. He's simply fulfilling a law of the universe. Stating a beautiful fact.
There was only one human in the history of Creation who was worthy to glorify himself. But even Jesus Christ, the one man who had every right to claim glory, directed it to God: "Father, glorify thy name" (John 12:28).
If Jesus, who is our model, our flawless exemplar in all areas of life, gave glory to God, that's where glory belongs. And if that's where glory belongs, that's where we should direct all our glorifying efforts. And if that's where we should direct all our glorifying efforts, we should celebrate—in joy and thankfulness—when God gives us a hand and glorifies Himself through the scraps of worship we have to offer Him.
God is worthy of all the glory we can give Him, and all the glory He can give Himself.
Father, glorify thy name.
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