There I was having a conversation with an old friend. He had just gotten married and was telling me how things were going in this new stage of his life. I was enjoying this time together when he mentioned to me he was intentionally making a decision to do something in his relationship with his new wife because of some advice he was given by another of his friends. He then went on to tell me the advice he had received.
It was an interesting experience at that moment because I could literally see a memory of my talking with my friend about a year prior where I was giving him that exact, same advice. And I remember when I told him, even where I had told him my thought. I remember him commenting that he had never heard anything like that before.
In some way now, I was feeling like I was being robbed of credit that I deserved. I thought to myself, “I was the one who gave him that advice, not this other person”. I thought to myself, “I deserve to be giving the credit”. I know my pride in this situation was not a good thing. In fact, I have had to deal, for years, with the problem of looking for attention. But nonetheless, I felt slighted in getting credit where credit was due.
With this story in mind, I think about God. I wonder how does God do it? He is the Creator of life, yet our culture continues to stubbornly endorse an evolution theory that life just occurred spontaneously from nothing and has evolved positively for billions of years until the crowing achievement, MAN has appeared. We are robbing Him of the credit and gratefulness He deserves.
Then, there is the tragedy of mankind’s sinfulness. Just look around objectively and you will be disgusted at the true condition of mankind and what we are morally capable of: stubbornness, hatred, brutality (think ISIS), rape, human trafficking, greed, deceit, murder, unfaithfulness, on and on it could go. Yet, recognizing the hopelessness of it all, God did something about it by giving of Himself, the very Son of God, Jesus Christ to die as a substitute for mankind’s sinfulness. He died to take the judgment that your sin and mine deserved. Yet today, an increasing percentage have no clue what the significance of Easter is all about. Again, we are robbing Him of the credit and gratefulness He deserves.
Sad to say, I have become convicted, deep in my spirit that too often I can be a “glory thief”. I’m not sure where I heard that phrase recently (sorry, I’m not giving someone credit for their creativity in coming up with it), but I think it is so spot-on. Often times, I can strive after wanting to receive credit alone for something that others have contributed to in my success, and especially where I should be acknowledging my thankfulness to God.
The Bible clearly says the following:
*Ps. 127:1 (ESV) – “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain”.
*1 Cor. 4:7 (NASB)- “For who regards you as superior? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it?”
*Deut. 8:17-18 (NASB)- “Otherwise, you may say in your heart, ‘My power and the strength of my hand-made me this wealth.’ But you shall remember the Lord your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day. ”
Apart from the provision of God Almighty, who has given me skills, opportunities, and life, I really can do nothing on my own. He is the One who should be acknowledged as being the One who has made any success possible that I have.
Does God take this issue of being robbed of His glory seriously—you bet!
- Acts 12:20-23 NASB – (this is a New Testament set of verses) —- “Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king’s chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king’s country. On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying out, “The voice of a god and not of a man!” And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died.
- Isaiah 42:8 (NLT)- “I am the Lord; that is my name!
I will not give my glory to anyone else,nor share my praise with carved idols.
- 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NIV) says, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Lastly, I have recently been reading in the Gospel of John. In many ways, the Gospel of John is different than the other Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). John was written several years after the others and is a kind of looking back at the life of Jesus from a 30,000 foot view. In the Gospel of John, we read of His eternal existence. We read of His mission of being the Messiah. We read that if all the miracles Jesus did were to be written about that John supposes that the world itself would not be able to contain all the books that would be written. While doing my morning studies in the Gospel of John, I started to notice that I was frequently hearing of this word, “glory” being mentioned.
As I’ve talked about several times in my Deuteronomy posts, when something in the Bible is repeated it is worth paying attention to. So, with that in mind, I decided to look into this subject of glory. Did you know that this word, “glory”is mentioned 339 times (that does not include a closely-related word like “glorify”)? In addition, here are the all the times “glory” is mentioned in the Gospel of John (NASB):
And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
This beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
I do not receive glory from men;
How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?
He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who is seeking the glory of the One who sent Him, He is true, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges.
Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’;
So a second time they called the man who had been blind, and said to him, “Give glory to God; we know that this man is a sinner.”
But when Jesus heard this, He said, “This sickness is not to end in death, but for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified by it.”
Jesus *said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
These things Isaiah said because he saw His glory, and he spoke of Him.
Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one;
Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
Is this topic of “glory” important? Yeah, it is. I think with all the many times this phrase is mentioned in the Gospel of John alone, it should give us some kind of idea that this is a very important topic to our Awesome God, who is so worthy of our honor.
Let me encourage you to be sensitive to robbing God of the glory He so richly deserves, instead of foolishly seeking glory or praise towards yourself.
As John the Baptist said, “oh that He might increase, and I decrease”. Let that be also descriptive of our vision statement. Don’t be a glory thief!