Friday, January 1, 2016

Will God Get Glory in 2016?

Isaiah opens with a clear message of intention from God, who will establish His house in the latter days on Mount Zion (2:1, 2). All the nations will make their pilgrimage to it. It will be a glorious thing. He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in them as He wills that we should.
That goal is to be accomplished by His sovereign work. It is a clear fact that His creatures, created in His image, do not do so now. The land is filled with idols because every admonition from God concerning them is resisted or ignored. However, the day is coming when “The haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the Lord alone will be exalted in that day. And the idols shall utterly pass away” (Is. 2:17, 18).
As a church and as individual members, we want the Lord to be exalted in our midst. Sadly, pride often seems to get in the way, and we end up taking pleasure in the very means we choose to exalt him. For example, we want to build church membership, and, if we are successful, we take pride in that success and the plan we used to accomplish it. A really successful effort is usually led by some charismatic individual. That person gets invited to share his plan with others who also want the same result. A book is published detailing the plan. A million copies are sold, and hundreds of churches testify to dramatic growth. Conferences are held, which are “must-attend.” But who gets the glory?
The desire to glorify God often ends up focusing on the means and/or the one who developed the means. The glory goes to the means. This applies to everything that we use—preaching, music, programs, revivals—everything. It is this way even when we sincerely desire it to be otherwise. That is because we are naturally prideful. Pride is an idol maker. We want to serve Christ, but in our present condition, our best service is full of idolatry because we start taking pleasure in the service, not the King we are to serve.
God has given us all things to enjoy (1 Tim. 6:17). Nevertheless, we tend to take those good things and abuse them in our effort to find fulfillment in the things given rather than in the Giver. The angel’s warning in Revelation 14:6, 7 is that all God’s creatures must fear God, give Him glory, and worship the Creator. Idolaters worship the creation.
An example of this is sex, a very powerful and precious gift that comes with very clear rules. Because humans are selfish and prideful creatures, the gift gets abused, and idols are proliferated. What was designed by God to enrich the lives of married couples becomes an abomination, wrecking lives and destroying nations. Fallen creatures cannot control their urge to find pleasure in gifts while spurning the Giver and His rules.
The great and glorious hope that must drive us is that because of the first coming of Jesus Christ, we are going to see the day when He will come again. Our pride will be humbled and our idols will pass away. When that is done, the glory will go to God alone. He alone will be exalted in that day. May that day come in 2016!