While standing on the huge, wave-washed granite boulders at Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia several years ago, I learned about the danger of a "rogue wave". Without warning, unsuspecting visitors have been swept out to sea by a monster wave, to their peril. I've certainly met a "rogue" or two in my life journey. But only recently was I introduced to the subtle allure, and deceptive reward of "rogue glory".
Glory Hunger is a new book by J. R. Vassar. You can count on great biblical insights and sound theology from graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary. The pastor from Grapevine, Texas asserts that you and I are "built for glory". Our hunger for it is legitimate. He writes, "We want to be perceived as impressive and affirmed as significant and important…we were made for it."
Indeed, C. S. Lewis gives a stunning portrait of the glorious destiny of those who belong to the Lord, in stark contrast to those who reject Him--
"There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal… It is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, exploit…immortal horrors or everlasting splendors."
Rogue glory is a fitting description for renegades who make news headlines daily—from terrorists to lone gunmen seeking to leave their mark on terra firma, to corrupt wheelers and dealers of a wide assortment whose self-centered ambition brings their downfall often from very high places. But the counterfeit of the glory God intended, tragically ensnares the hearts of His children too.
The apostle Paul illuminates the legitimate glorification - the sanctification process for the believer;
"So all of us… reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image" 2 Corinthians 3:18 NLT. Our lives are meant to be an increasingly glorious portrait of Christ—from the inside out!
The problem arises in the way we choose to fulfill God's design. We are driven by "an insatiable craving for approval, recognition and praise" Vassar says. Many Scriptures speak into this temptation:
Proverbs 25:27 ESV warns, "It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one's own glory."
"Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom." Proverbs 11:2 NLT
"As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but favors the humble.'" James 4:6 NLT
However oppressed, overlooked or overwhelmed we may feel, our needs are met in the Messiah, but more than that, we have a high calling! What "favor", what a privilege is framed in Isaiah's prophesy!
"In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory." Isaiah 61:3b NLT
Jesus said, "…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father." Matthew 5:16 NLT
Note who gets the glory and praise! And the righteousness is His too. It is the imputed righteousness of Christ, the sinless Son of God, whose substitutionary death on the cross makes the whole EXCHANGE PROGRAM possible!
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair" (Isaiah 61:3).
This is the passage Jesus quoted to announce His earthly ministry (Luke 4:18, 19). Because of His death and resurrection, we can exchange our brokenness for His wholeness, our weakness for His strength, our inadequacy for His sufficiency.
"And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory." Colossians 1:27
Satan reared his ugly head in the Garden of Eden with the counterfeit offer. Adam and Eve reached for godlike status in response to the Tempter's cunning lies and deception, and intimacy with God was gone—the mutual delighting destroyed. Their reaching for rogue glory robbed us too, and the deficiency that cripples us all is experienced in "a continual lust for more" (Ephesians 4:19 NIV). It has motivated people to do almost anything to be famous or infamous.
Another season of American Idol wrapped up in May. The popular program highlights Vassar's claim—
"We are hardwired to ascribe glory and praise to what we deem impressive. It's natural to give glory in response to witnessing greatness." Ours is a celebrity-worshipping culture. But real star power has been secured for every one of us. Jesus came to restore what was lost in the Garden, "…bringing many sons and daughters to glory." Hebrews 2:10 NIV
"Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people." Philippians 2:15 NLT
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever." Daniel 12:3 NIV
As we daily surrender to "the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8), we "share in His glory" (Romans 8:17), and experience the blessings of divine favour and everlasting love. Hollywood's brightest star can't touch that!!!
Philip Kurtz loves to express his love of the Lord in poetry:
BLAZE OF GLORY
won't see me blazing my own trail
But on the path God has chosen
Angels leading in a blaze of glory.
Seeking to fulfill our glory hunger apart from Christ is sure to sweep us off course and into destruction, like a rogue wave. The glory you have been called to inherit isn't cheap, and it isn't fickle. It's eternal.
Be sure to watch my interview with J. R. Vassar, airing June 17th on 100 Huntley Street. It may prompt a course correction!