The perfect word that describes God’s being, the most important aspect of God’s attributes, and the most desired quality that we would have God make known to us: glory. Glory is such a heavy word, with heavy implications. It means that God’s marvelous nature is no rival to anything, or anyone, because of who He is. The glory of God shines in darkness and is something that we want to see. Even Moses couldn’t help it but to ask God in Exodus 33:18 (ESV), “‘Please, show me your glory!” We all want God to show us something to prove Himself, or to at least give us something we have never seen.
I still can’t forget the day when I went to one church congregation which was what many would call “expressive”. These people were willing to arouse themselves in whatever kind of emotional high was necessary in order to believe that they felt the glory of God. They were crying out, rolling on the floor in laughter, screaming out contemporary worship lyrics, and jerking their bodies because they were hungry to see something awesome.
In one song written by Jesus Culture, Let it Rain, God’s glory was asked to be revealed in the gathering with these lyrics:
Let it rain, let it rain! Open the floodgates of Heaven!
I feel the rains of Your love, and feel the winds of your Spirit.
Now the heartbeat of Heaven, let us hear!
We want to see You, we want to know You.
Show us Your glory, Lord!
In another contemporary song called Holy Spirit, artist Francesca Battistelli sings this:
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!
Now, I can understand why many of today’s churches are crying out to God saying things such as “release Your glory“, “show us Your glory“, and my personal favorite: “let glory fall on us!” There is a nature within us that causes us to desire the divine, to witness miracles, and to be driven to a cause of some sort. We want to witness the extraordinary to prove something to us. Sadly, this is not the ideal method of searching for the truth, and most importantly the glory of God.
Many times in the Bible, Jesus was asked by the religious leaders and the high-class citizens of Israel to show His worth. Even after Jesus would heal the sick, drive out demons, and raise the dead from the grave they wouldn’t believe. The best example that witnessing miracles will not stir our hearts to admire the glory of God is the nation of Israel. God brought them out of the slavery of Egypt through ten plagues, divine leadership through fire and clouds, and the crossing of the Red Sea. God provided them with nourishment, with security, and a promise. All this, and they couldn’t recognize the glory of God, yet it was right in front of them.
So now we must ask the question: Are we calling for glory in vain? Not at all. We desire to see the glory of God, and we should. However, we have to recognize what the true glory of God is. Recognizing the meaning of God’s glory will help us to better understand whether we have seen it, or rather…Him.
The glory of God is not in something, but someone, and that someone is Jesus Christ. It is interesting how we scream for God’s glory to be shown to us when the glory of God has been revealed to us. Jesus even left behind His words so that the glory we have seen and heard of would be sufficient until His return. In John 1:14 (ESV) it says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” This is contradictory to much of what we as Christians might believe today.
We are taught the glory of God is miracles, rather than the miracle maker.
We are taught the glory of God is the Kingdom, rather than the King.
We are taught the glory of God is brightness, rather than it being the light.
These views are not taught solely by the modern Evangelical churches, the contemporary worships songs, and the new hip “pastors”, but they are also self-taught. I have had many moments in my life when I cried for God to show Himself in some way to me. During those moments, I would forget about what God had done for me in my life. Most importantly, I would forget who Jesus was to me. When you lose sight of Jesus, you lose sight of the glory of God. Jesus is the only way to see the sufficient glory of God. He is the glory which we are physically able to receive and understand. There is a deeper glory which we will not know until His return, or until death, but the glory we desire for is found in the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the member of the Godhead, the Son of God, and He humbled Himself to come to the world as one of us. Jesus became flesh, and we have seen His glory. He came to us, but like Israel we were not able to see God. We know this because it is written in John 1:10-11 (ESV) that Jesus was completely overlooked by the people of the world: “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to his own, and His own people did not receive Him.” What a sad thing it is to look back at this passage and begin to ask within ourselves: is Jesus sufficient?
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that Jesus is the very glory that we have seen, and it is only by God’s grace that we have come to know Him as it is written in John 1:12-13 (ESV) saying, “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” It is because of God that we see Jesus as being the beacon of glory that we have seen, and that has been made known to us. The reason why we tend to think that some kind of miracle, fire, or spectacular manifestation would be glorious is because (just like the Pharisees and Sadducees) we believe that God must prove Himself to us logically and emotionally.
The truth of the matter is that God doesn’t simply reveal His glory to us through those things. Miraculous signs are only proof that His glory is valid and that He exists. Signs are wonders are done for the glory of God, but they are not in themselves the glory of God. The true glory of God is found in Christ and in His work of salvation. If it is glory we seek, it must be Christ. If it is satisfaction in the divine and the heaviness of God, let it be found in Christ. If it is the essence of who God is and His attributes, look no further than the person of Jesus Christ. He has come as our Lord and Savior to be the light to the world. Thank God if you know Him, and if you don’t then I have one plea: draw near!
There is plenty of superstition in the world, plenty of philosophy, and plenty of strange explanations for the purpose to life. None of them compare to Christ. The true glory found in Christ, the glory we have seen, is the greatest beauty and wonder that anyone can ever find. The most amazing thing about it all is that His arms open wide to show Himself to whomever is willing for the Spirit to open one’s eyes.
Soli Deo Gloria.