Going Deeper Into The Glory of God
If you’ve walked with God at all, experienced something of His glory, then you no doubt want more. He is so good. But the question is, how do we go deeper to touch on the glory of God?
Expectations For Going Deeper
When I (Jai) was aspiring to plant a church in Mackay, I wanted to see the glory of God at work as He brought people to himself. So I went along to a number of conferences about church planting, which were super helpful and each time there was at least one talk that was specifically focused on setting our expectations right. There would be a speaker who would eventually break down in tears, as they described the difficulty of the enterprise. And, it was so helpful. As I’ve gone through the hard times, they’ve not been catastrophic - in fact, I’ve almost been waiting for them to come. What are we to expect if we desire to press deeper into God?
Struggling With Expectations for Going Deeper
When having our forth child, we knew that each child has their own personality and that some babies are just trickier to manage than others. Our expectations should have been set right. But unfortunately, because babies two and three were a good bit easier, we chose to believe it was our great parenting that have given us such a sweet experience. Think again - number four was a very different child. It’s funny isn’t it, because there are those times when we’re just blind to clearly articulated expectations. We should know better, but because of our previous experiences or unwillingness to listen to expectations that don’t fit our box, we miss information that otherwise could have been incredibly helpful. How do we receive the expectations that have been laid out for us?
Setting The Record Straight
If you turn up the final chapters of Mark’s gospel, one thing is unmistakable: God is not afraid of weakness. Jesus boldly explains that a lady who anoints him with expensive perfume is preparing him for his burial (Mark 14:8). Then he announces to his disciples that one of them will betray him (14:18), and finally that ‘you will all fall away’ (14:27). If that wasn’t enough, he explicitly explains how his closest follower Peter will disown Jesus three times (14:30). Can you imagine being the one to deliver such messages? Talk about weak and dismal word to give to someone.
Yet things get worse. Jesus - the Son of the living God - becomes ‘overwhelmed with sorrow’ and pleads three times for His Father to take the cup away from him (Mark 14:32-42). Finally, hanging on the cross, Jesus asks his Father, ‘why have you forsaken me?' (15:34). Maybe the most remarkable thing, is that everything that happens in these chapters, was spoken about long beforehand. ‘The Scriptures must be fulfilled’ (Mark 14:49).
Certainly we look to a God who is not afraid of weakness.
The Lord Uses Weakness
Yet as much as God is not afraid of weakness, it is very clear that he is also well able to use weakness. Perfume wasted on preparing Jesus for his burial, will become an integral story in the gospel that will go on to be preached throughout the whole world (14:9). Jesus betrayal and death happens on the same night as the Passover, remembering the God who through sacrifice, was able to see death pass over all who trusted in him (14:12). Jesus won’t just die, but he will rise again and regather his scattered disciples (14:27-28). Even as Jesus breathed his last breath and the temple curtain tore in two (signifying that the way to God was opened up), the centurion standing to witness his death could realise that this man was indeed the Son of God (15:39)!
Though we might not like weakness, God none-the-less uses it. So we would do well not being afraid of it either.
Accept God’s Words of Weakness
I think really the application here, is that we need to accept God’s Words of weakness. Jesus said, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me' (Mark 8:34). It sounds very weak, but receiving those words is the only way to go on and share in his glory when he comes (8:38).
We all love to receive words from God about the coming of His glory into our lives. And why not? They can be wonderful. But what about words which speak of our failures and need to repent? What about when God gives us a word to prepare us for a hard time, rather than a fun time? What about when we get a word that says we might not see the success we’d hoped for immediately, can we receive that as well? If we cannot, then we will not get to share the glory that comes at the other side.
In preparing this passage, I had a sense of a hard moment coming. And it did come, yet as I willingly walked through that hard moment, God had great miracles to uncover on the other side. Praise Him!
So if you want more of the glory of God, don’t shrink back from the hard, the unimpressive, the difficult. No, be willing to walk through it with God. You can be sure better things wait on the other side. Because as much as He is a God who is not afraid of weakness, He is also the God of all Glory (Psalm 29:3)!
About the Author
Jai Wright is a Christian Minister, who founded and leads MAKE Church in Mackay, Qld. He recently published the book, Life Plugged In: Connecting with the Source of Peace, Power and Purpose.
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