It is easy to say, much harder to do. To give ALL the glory to Christ. It is hard to believe in our heart of hearts, because we are prone to want our own glory and our own gain. But the Bible is clear, it all goes to Christ. We want to give it to Jesus, or more accurately, we want, to want to give it to Jesus. The question I am posing today, is do you really believe Christ should get ALL the glory? Not a just portion. Not 95%. But ALL the glory.
If the vast oceans of the world were the glory of God, we are happy to give him most if it, but we have a hard time letting it all go. We want to at least keep a portion. We want the Gulf of Mexico sized glory for our selves. After all, its small in comparison to the expansive oceans of the world. Or maybe, if we are "really holy," we are okay with just having San Francisco Bay sized glory.
The Christian life is one of ambition, but not for our own gain. Our aim and ambition is the glory of God in Christ Jesus. We strive to enjoy God, bring him glory and do good to others. It is paradoxical, because in seeking glory for Christ, we actually get the most enjoyment ourselves. Seeking our own glory will leave us disappointed and distraught. We may be able to float in the sea of our own glory for a time, but eventually our boat will sink. We cannot paddle our little row boat of glory in the vast ocean for long before we are capsized. Whether in this life or the next, we will understand our folly. “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6).”
God deserves the glory. “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen (Romans 11:36).” And our joy is found in giving it to Him.
BUT, the problem remains. We still want to keep some glory for ourselves. We don’t want to give it all to Jesus. Here are a few helpful reminders in our fight to give Jesus ALL the glory.
Remember our finitude
The magnitude of God and His glory is unknowable by human standards, or really any standard other than His own. The image of the world’s oceans as a picture of God’s glory is useful in helping us see that we so often want too keep glory for ourselves. But it is entirely inadequate in helping us actually understand the infinite glory that God deserves. We have measured the oceans. We know their coastlines and how many miles they span. People have charted courses around the world, entirely by water, and have completed their journey safely. But we cannot measure or contain the glory of God.
There is still much to be discovered about oceans, but we have learned quite a bit. On the other hand, there is far more to God than the oceans. We feel finite in comparison to the ocean, and we should. How much more in comparison with God.
When you want to keep glory for yourself, just remember that next to God, you simply don’t deserve it. And that is a good thing. If God was not worthy of all the glory, would you want to worship him anyway?
Remember God’s wisdom
It was God’s wisdom that sent Christ to the cross. Seeing our need, Jesus came to save sinners. It is foolishness to the world. Why would a perfect and innocent man die the brutal death meant for the guilty? Jesus tasted death for us. That is foolishness to the world, but it is wisdom to God.
Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:20-31 ESV)
God chose us. We didn’t do that for ourselves. God made it possible through Jesus. We don't do that ourselves. Humanity wanted to try and fix the problem on their own, and our wisest answers have always led to more religion, more work and more self-righteousness. God’s answer was to do it for us, through the humbling of Jesus in human form and the eventual death of Jesus on the cross. That is foolishness to the world, but it is the wisdom of God. God did it for us. And as a result “no human being [ought to] boast in the presence of God.” We did not save ourselves. God did. The glory belongs to him. We are the glad recipients of grace, and we should be the glad offerers of glory back to Him. So “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
On our own, we labor in vain
We must be careful to not try to do it on our own. If we want the glory, it will lead to us doing it on our own. If we believe we have done it on our own, we will be prone to seek the glory. Resist that dangerous cycle.
Unless the LORD builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep. (Psalm 127:1-2 ESV)
It is foolish and worthless to attempt to do it on our own. Don’t fall into that trap. It will either fail in the short term, or worse, it will succeed and you will turn into a habitual glory seeker. Eventually you will be wanting not just the San Francisco Bay or Gulf of Mexico, you will be looking for the Atlantic Ocean of glory for yourself. But God does not share His glory, nor should He. It will not end well for you. Resist the urge now, and pursue God’s glory, not your own.
ALL Glory be to Christ
This is a great song by King’s Kaleidoscope, and the lyrics are a beautiful reminder that all glory belongs to Christ: