“Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Psalms 50:14-15
Ireneus described the glory of God as the human being fully alive and that the life of the human consists in beholding God. Many things in the world blind us to the glory of our loving Creator God. Senseless murders, horrific rapes, disasters and epidemics, church conflicts, personal suffering of pain draws us away from the gospel that God is always good and we are always loved. A friend in the midst of his suffering lamented how he longs for Christ to come again and deliver us from suffering and pain.
But Jesus came, lived, died and rose from the dead to show us our wonderful and amazing calling to be children of God, to be the salt and light in His beautiful world that has been darkened by evil and sin. The world is waiting for us as Christians to follow the way of our Lord – to become more fully devoted to Christ, to be willing to be nothing that Christ may be all. It has been noted that “there is no limit to what God can do with a man, providing he will not touch the glory.”
Martin Luther shares the very important insight that “God created the world out of nothing, and as long as we are nothing, He can make something out of us.” Indeed, it has been said that there is nothing in Christ but God. George Muller testified in an address to ministers and workers after his ninetieth birthday that it was four years after his conversion that he fully surrendered his life. It was then that he found that “the love of money was gone, the love of place was gone, the love of position was gone, the love of worldly pleasures and engagements was gone. “ He found happiness when God alone became his portion and he found his all in Him and wanted nothing else.
We are to live out the good news that we are the dwelling place of God and His glory. We are created for God's glory and "we are to live in and live out the splendor God has uniquely given us. We own the glory of our lives. We live out the extraordinary-ness in the ordinary things of life.” We have the choice to live out God's best for our lives or we can bankrupt our legacy of faith when we seek to live our lives on our own terms.
Gary Barkalow drew attention to the truth that we are not just the object of God's forgiveness and tolerance but that there is a brilliance, a magnificence to our lives that we are to take responsibility for - the splendor of our lives - not what has been taken away but what has been given to us. He lamented the fact that “the church culture has gone from the mysterious but true glory of a person's life to lifeless duty and function. It has gone from owning the splendor of one's life and the world's need of it to merely finding a task that needs to be done for God and making sure it is done with excellence.”
When our focus is on our tasks rather than our relationship with God, we lose sight of the glory of God. God created us to be human beings but we have turned ourselves into human doings. Let us offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving for the mystery and wonder of life. Let us light a candle instead of cursing the darkness. Let us encourage one another to live lives of glory so that we can shine as stars in our increasingly dark world.