At the end of Paul's discussion about missionary giving and God's never-failing provision, he gives the glory to God. 'Glory' is a major Bible word which has its roots in the weighty, majestic solemnity and holy beauty of God. Glory describes both the magnificently powerful nature of His character and every way in which that is displayed. The glory of God is awesome. Moses could not see God's glory and live (Exodus 33:18-23); Isaiah was in fear of his life at the manifestation of God's glory (Isaiah 6:5). The glory which covered Jesus provided Peter, James and John with an unforgettable validation of His Deity (John 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16-18; Matthew 17:1-2).
God's glory is both yesterday's wonder and tomorrow's hope. It is also the purpose of our lives today. As we serve Him in a Christ-like way, our transformed lifestyle points to the glory of our heavenly Master, whose power has changed us (Matthew 5:16; Ephesians 1:12). Promoting God's glory becomes a primary motivation to please Him (Romans 15:17). That is true in showing kindness to the needy, giving time and money to provide resources for the gospel, and being content with what we have. Holy living of that calibre always gives glory to God. And the glorification of God is unending; it will be the theme song for all eternity. Amazingly, all who know Him will share in His glory for ever (1 Peter 5:10).
But all that is in stark contrast with our fleshly nature which desires our own glory. Such ambitions are futile because all glory, apart from God's, will disappear when He appears in glory. That should start us thinking about what we do each day and why we do it. The Christian author John Piper puts it like this: ‘... the most freeing discovery this sinner has ever made, is that God's deepest commitment to be glorified and my deepest longing to be satisfied are not in conflict, but in fact find simultaneous consummation in His display of and my delight in the glory of God’ (from 'The Supremacy of God in Preaching').
That is not just for preachers, but for farmers and financiers, health and harbour workers, teachers and tradespeople, researchers and retailers, managers and musicians. Wherever God has placed you, your task is to live so that God is glorified (1 Corinthians 10:31). Even if others resist your witness, God is still glorified. Promoting God's glory is the everyday challenge for the lifestyle of every believer. God may allow even the strangest of circumstances so that, by relying on Him and resting in His peace, we may confidently point beyond today, to the God of Glory.
© Dr Paul Adams