Tuesday, January 13, 2009

40 Days of cHesed—Day 7

Day 7 The Reason for Everything

Let’s do a quick review of our first six days:

  • While it’s all about God, he wants to include us in his purpose!

  • God has provided a safe environment in which to grow in relationship with him.

  • We have the proper perspective for relationship with God through covenant.

  • Our relationship with God is meant to last forever.

  • We have taken a closer look at life from God’s view.

  • We choose to embrace the changes God desires, so that we don’t lose sight of Heaven as our destination.

What is the point of all these thoughts and activities?

It is wrapped up in the word glory. Have you ever noticed that we use a lot of words that we don’t know how to define? We kind of know what they mean, but we can’t explain them very well.

Glory is one of those words.

If we’re going to understand that it’s all about God and that we bear the Image of God and are to grow into the likeness of Jesus Christ—we’d better understand something about glory.

Basically, glory has to do with the attractive, visible characteristics of something or someone. Let’s take a look at three examples from the Bible. (Remember now, the first two are examples from 2000 years ago—a different time and different culture.)

  1. A woman’s hair was considered her glory. Long, beautiful hair was particularly glorious because it took time and work to grow it and care for it well. (Think: no crème rinse or blow dryer or curling iron.) Properly cared for, long hair was an attractive, visible characteristic of someone who was considered a proper lady. (Hair that was cut short, or shaved off completely, usually signified the woman was not married and not respectable.)

  2. Likewise, a man’s glory was his wife. An attractive (see above) and hospitable wife was a visible characteristic of the man’s good judgment and excellent leadership of, and domestic provision for, his household. Think of The Wife of Noble Character from Proverbs 31!

  3. Finally, God’s glory is man – the Image of God. The only man who reflected that image clearly was Jesus Christ. However, when man (male and female) functions well in the covenant community, the characteristics of God are both visible and attractive to those who witness it.

Giving glory, then, states that some visible characteristic is worth being publicly acknowledged for its beauty or truth or strength or wisdom. It is giving credit where credit is due.

The attractive, visible characteristics of Christ that are seen in Christians, then, are not to be sources of praise for the individual. They are not to be viewed as evidence of great personal character or ability, but as evidence of Christ’s character and ability in them. They are to be a source of giving glory to God.

When we say “glory to God” we mean that we choose to acknowledge that the character of God is visible and beautiful when:

  • We are amazed at the tremendous complexity and variety and beauty of God’s creation—with no exact duplicates!

    • We acknowledge that each child born is a unique and special gift from God to the world. That child’s potential is to be acknowledged and nurtured on purpose toward God’s purpose—no one else can take their place.

  • We experience the gifts of music, whether vocal or instrumental, God has given man.

  • We experience the imaginative and creative abilities God has given man to make new things out of the raw materials God created.

    • We experience the beauty of art, whether drawing or painting or sculpting or writing or capturing images on film.

    • We wonder at those who study science and technology and their many innovations throughout history.

  • We see lives transformed and reconciled by the power of the Holy Spirit at work in and through the covenant community.

    • Through the joyful exercise of the Spiritual Gifts by every one of God’s people—according to the direction of the Holy Spirit.

    • Through the building of caring relationships in small groups.

    • Through the fervent and effectual prayers of God’s people.

    • Through the humble acts of service with and for God’s people.

    • Through the loving hands of God’s people that reach out to invite others to join the family.

Maybe you get the picture by now: it really is all about God. Everything that we have is a gift from God to be used according to God’s purpose, not ours.

Whatever you see or hear or do, remember to give credit where credit is due.

Today’s Look at 1 John

Read 1 John 1:1 through 2:11 again. While you’re reading, think about seeing God’s glory—his attractive, visible characteristics—when you read, “light.” You can also try substituting “refusing to help” for “hate.”

Keep Breathing!

Well, this is the last day of the first week of getting in shape. Good for you—you made it!

So, today when you invite him to spend the day, tell him that you know that it’s all about him. Thank him for wanting to include you in his day! Keep your eyes open for signs of God’s glory—and be sure to point them out to everyone you meet along the way!

You’re in great shape! Stay with us.

No comments: