by Steve Schantz
What does it mean for something or someone to glorify God? An eagle lives out its glory by soaring on wingtip far above the landscape to feed her young nesting atop a 100 foot pine.
Clouds glorify God by a shear beauty displayed against a sunset through a rainbow of refracted color. Other facets of cloud glory are seen as it pours rain down on a parched earth, or as a single white puff drifts across the blue sky of summer. From the first heaven they proclaim, “Here I am, just the way you made me to be!
The human limitation of time and space affect our perception of glory. A fast runner is in his fullest glory as he crosses the finish line and steps up to receive the trophy. He was the fastest runner in the field before the race even began, but he didn’t enter into glory until he was seen to be what he actually was. Women (and often men as well) are moved to tears at weddings or the birth of a child inside the overwhelming reality of those moments. We capture these glimpses of glory in as many angles as possible in videos and pictures just made for posting and framing.
(South Beach, Miami – courtesy Ben Schantz)
When something or someone is seen for what it is truly meant to be – God is glorified. Before Adam and Eve sinned they were naked – in “all their glory” – unashamed before God. We lose glory when sin causes us to become less than who we are really meant to be in Christ. Our descent into sin was the beginning of putting on the mask of false identity. When we mar the image of our creator, it is truly a fall from glory. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Blinded to our purpose for being we stumble in the dark unable to live out the glory God intended for us unless He reveals Himself in a new way. But a loving creator planned from before time to adopt us into relationship with Himself through Christ.
When Jesus came to earth in human form there was a glory in his birth, a glory in his dwelling among us, a glory in His death, and a glory in His resurrection, and a glory in his ascension. As the apostle John testifies, we have seen it, and this glory, full of grace and truth, is one shared by the Father. (John 1:14)
In Christ, we become who we are truly meant to be. We are able to take off our self-fashioned masks and live into His purpose for us. Author David Benner shares this: “Christian spirituality involves a transformation of the self that occurs only when God and self are both deeply known. Both, therefore, have an important place in Christian spirituality. There is no deep knowing of God without a deep knowing of self, and no deep knowing of self without a deep knowing of God. John Calvin wrote, “Nearly the whole of sacred doctrine consists in these two parts: knowledge of God and of ourselves.”
The Apostle Paul reminds us that God has made his light shine in our hearts so that we see the glory of God in the face of Christ. (2 Cor 4:6) Jesus in His one being in relationship to the Father constitute what man and God were meant to be – whole, true to our identity, and glorious! Christ glorified the father by being (becoming) one of us, living here among us as God and man, dying for our death to sin, and living for our eternal life. He was lifted up so that men and women might be drawn to Him. (John 12:32) Let us be true to who we are meant to be as a child of God alive in Christ. To God be the glory!