This past week Dr. Larry Taylor and I had the privilege of conducting the 14th annual Kingdom School Institute. I was scheduled to present the final challenge to over 200 delegates from the United States, Nigeria, Cuba and Nicaragua. The thought that kept going through my mind was the importance of Christian school leaders remembering that everything they do must be for God’s glory.
When addressing this concept, I realized that there are two aspects of the term glory that we must understand. The first aspect is that of glorifying God. The second aspect of glory is the glory of God.
We all know what Paul wrote in his first letter to the Corinthians. He told them in chapter 10, verse 31:
Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
This verse is very straight forward. For us as Christians, we are to do everything for God’s glory. Several years ago I was reading what Warren Wiersbe wrote about the need to do everything for God’s glory. He stated that God will only work for His glory. The prophet Isaiah wrote:
I am the Lord, that is My name, I will not give My glory to another (Isaiah 42:8).
I find myself and others frequently referring to the need for all Christians to do everything for God’s glory. However, what does it mean to glorify God? It is one thing to know that we are to glorify God but if we don’t know how one glorifies Him, we can never know if we are doing it or not. Gary Inrig gives us one of the best explanations of what it means to glorify God (emphasis mine).
To glorify God is to live in such a way that His character is REVEALED and His praise is INCREASED.
If we are going to live our lives in a way that will glorify God in everything, we must live so that we reflect the character of God. When we do this, people will increase their praise for Him. This is a great truth to know but this brings us to the other aspect of the term glory.
The Glory of God
As I was thinking about Inrig’s explanation about how one glorifies God, I realized that I must know God’s character so that I can live in such a way as to reveal it. At the same time I was preparing this presentation, I was watching a series being preached by Pastor James McMenis titled The Table. He based this series on Revelation 3:20 where we find Jesus standing at the door and knocking. This is because He desires for us to open the door and let Him in. When He comes in, He will sup with us and we with Him. This verse allows us to picture Christ sitting down at a table having intimate fellowship with one of His children.
When we are in the presence of God having intimate fellowship with Him, He shows us His glory. This is true in all of our personal relationships here on earth. Just being around someone does not allow us to really know him or her. When we sit down with someone and have intimate conversation back and forth, we can see that person’s glory and know his/her character. When God is present, He reveals His glory which allows us to know His character. Once we see His glory and understand His character, then we can fulfill the command to glorify God in everything.
God’s presence is necessary for a Christian to see God’s glory and then live a life that glorifies God. The question becomes are we seeking God’s presence or avoiding it? There are some things that will hinder us from seeking God’s presence. If you recall, when Adam sinned, he hid from God’s presence. His sin brought him shame and that caused him to try and hide from God. This is the case for us when we sin. We can find ourselves trying to avoid God’s presence. If we do avoid His presence, we will not see His glory and this will hinder us from living our lives for God’s glory.
Revelation 3:17 tells us that we can also be separated from God’s presence because of self-sufficiency. When we think we have everything going our way, we can fall into the trap of thinking we don’t need God. Being over confident or simply distracted can keep us from hearing God knocking at the door wanting to come in and have that relationship with Him that will allow Him to reveal His glory to us.
During the closing presentation at the Kingdom School Institute we all sang the song, Holy Spirit You Are Welcome Here. The chorus references what I have presented here about God’s presence and His glory.
Holy Spirit You are welcome here,
Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere.
Your glory God is what our hearts long for,
To be overcome by Your presence, Lord.
Here are some questions I asked the delegates as we closed KSI 2016. As you ponder them, keep in mind that God’s presence leads to us knowing God’s glory. Knowing God’s glory allows us to glorify God in all we do by revealing His character (glory) to us so that His praise is increased.
- Is there something in your life that is causing you to avoid His presence?
- Are there distractions in your life that hinders you from hearing Jesus knocking at the door?
- Are you trying to figure it all out on your own or do you think that everything is going fine so you don’t need to seek His presence with all your heart?
- Are you one of those Christians who doesn’t believe that God can allow you to accomplish more in 6 days than you can on your own in 7 (remember that God ceased from all His work on the 7th day)?
- When was the last time that you stopped everything and just wanted God to sit down at the table and fellowship with you?
- When you long and are overcome by His presence, do you see His glory?
With all that is going on in this world, we need to take time and commune with God at the table. As we do so, we must long to see His glory. When we see His glory, it should motivate us to glorify Him in all we do. We will then impact those we teach and/or lead in such a way that will cause them to see His character and give Him praise.