2 Corinthians 3:8-9 (NLT)
Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life? If the old way, which brings condemnation, was glorious, how much more glorious is the new way, which makes us right with God!
What did you expect when you came to know Jesus Christ? What was your expectation in that moment? When I was just eleven years old, something inside of me compelled me to join the pastor at the altar of the Baptist church my grandmother attended. I cannot explain it. It is but a vague recollection, but there was a strong drive to ask Jesus to be my Savior that was not of myself. I believe now that it was the Holy Spirit. When I walked down the aisle I could hear my heart beating in my ears as it raced. I was excited and a little bit scared all at the same time. As he prayed with me, I hardly can remember the words he spoke just the overwhelming desire for this “Jesus” they kept talking about. When it was over, I was led to the front row and the pastor’s wife wrapped her arm around me giving me a tight squeeze and then the pastor had me come stand before the congregation as he acknowledged my decision to follow Christ. That was it. Or so I thought, where were the fireworks. Why did my life look the same way? What was different?
Throughout the course of my life, I would wander in and out of churches. My commitment to Christ would be strong one day and nonexistent the next. There are select moments that I can remember when the Lord and I connected mixed with many times, I just gave up until about seventeen years ago. Coming to Christ, we all have very different expectations. There are many misconceptions that God like Santa Claus gives us stuff based on whether we are naughty or nice. We can expect the Glory of God in our life. The driving force that leads us to the altar of repentance to accept salvation gives us access to God’s Glory in our life. We must believe. To believe will change our attitude and actions dramatically. Without change, the Glory of God will keep flowing right by us and not once will we step into it.
The new way of life found in following Christ allows us to step into the Glory of God which is constant. It flows all around us and those who decide to step into the righteousness offered by the Grace of God made possible by Jesus Christ will experience the overflow in their own life. As we live for Christ, we are given His Glory which comes from the Father. It was ours to begin with but forfeited by sin…over and over again. Those who repent and turn their life over to Jesus are given His Glory… again.
I Chronicles 29:10-14 (NLT)
Then David praised the Lord in the presence of the whole assembly: “O Lord, the God of our ancestor Israel, may you be praised forever and ever! Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things. Wealth and honor come from you alone, for you rule over everything. Power and might are in your hand, and at your discretion people are made great and given strength. “O our God, we thank you and praise your glorious name! But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you? Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you first gave us!
What is God’s Glory? The Lord is full of greatness, power, victory and majesty. As David prayed, he acknowledged the character and fullness of all the things that flow from the Hand of God to His People. Every good thing in our life is a gift from God. (James 1:17) Nothing is random. Everything is predetermined by God for our good. (Psalm 139:16; Jeremiah 29:11) With that in mind, those who seek the Lord wholeheartedly are promised that they will have God’s Plan including the future and hope for their life once forfeited by our rebellious sin against God. (Jeremiah 29:13) When we come to Jesus, we think that we are bringing our whole heart but with fractured lives and broken hearts – this can be a complicated effort with many trips to bring all the little pieces. Grace is free but not cheap. Faith has a requirement called obedience. Without obedience, there is not complete and total faith. Our belief in God is expressed in our obedience.
This is God’s Kingdom. It lives in us. He gave it to us in the garden. (Psalm 8:3-8) We had full power and authority granted without total dominion. Sin gave it back. Now through Jesus Christ we are given access to His Greatness, Power, Glory, Victory and Majesty all over again. We should expect God’s Glory in our life and must live like we have it.
Psalm 84:11 (NLT)
For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The Lord will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.
Where does God’s Glory come from? God gives us His Glory plain and simple. In our creation, we are designed and destined to be Children of God. When sin stripped us of the Glory of God, it was His Intent to give it back to us. Hence, we have grace in Jesus Christ who was the Glory of God wrapped in a flesh package. (John 1:14) God gave us His Grace and Glory in Jesus. (John 8:54) Jesus was glorified in His Obedience when He went to the Cross and sacrificed His Sinless Life for our broken ones. (John 13:31-32) When Jesus prayed right before His Death, He asked God the Father to give US His Glory. (John 17:21-23) All we have to do is seek the Grace and Glory of God to have it. (Romans 2:7) Faith in Jesus keeps us poised in righteousness ready to receive God’s Glory in its fullness. (Romans 5:1-2) Grace gives us full access to God’s Glory. Faith keeps us in right standing with God so that His Grace, Goodness and Glory can reach us. We have all the components of a supernatural existence in God… if we want it.
Psalm 85:8-13 (NLT)
I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying, for he speaks peace to his faithful people. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, so our land will be filled with his glory. Unfailing love and truth have met together. Righteousness and peace have kissed! Truth springs up from the earth, and righteousness smiles down from heaven. Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings. Our land will yield its bountiful harvest. Righteousness goes as a herald before him, preparing the way for his steps.
Listen carefully. We cannot leave the altar of God and return to our foolish ways still expecting God’s Glory to reach us. Sin will always interrupt the overflow of God in our life. Disbelief blocks it every single time. We must know what we believe and Who we believe in order to experience life better than expected. Salvation is repentance for our sin. Repentance is turning from sin and accepting God’s Glory again. Obedience is unavoidable for those who desire God’s Glory to flow in their life. Obedience opens the gateway of God’s Glory in our life. Grace allows us to walk there. His Abundance flows through the Gate called Jesus Christ. Sin cannot go there. We must strive to live a life of holiness. It is the road less traveled but certainly worthwhile.
Matthew 4:8-11 (NLT)
Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.” “Get out of here, Satan,” Jesus told him. “For the Scriptures say, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’” Then the devil went away, and angels came and took care of Jesus.
The biggest lie that the enemy ever told a new believer is that you have to do anything other than call on the Name of Jesus to have the Glory of God. Now wait a minute, what about obedience? Obedience is this “you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) To love God is to hate sin. To follow the Lord is to walk humbly in love with Jesus and share that love with others. That’s it. The enemy uses religion to make us think we need to do “something” to have God’s Glory. Not so. The latest tactic is a huge swing in the opposite direction that has churches telling new believers that grace without repentance is enough. God’s Love is indeed for everyone. But we must love Him with our heart, soul and strength not just our words. God’s Glory is provided by the Grace of Jesus Christ. We can expect nothing but the best from God when we follow along in simple obedience. How far will you go to see God’s Glory spill out over your life?
John 11:32-40 (NLT)
When Mary arrived and saw Jesus, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping and saw the other people wailing with her, a deep anger welled up within him, and he was deeply troubled. “Where have you put him?” he asked them. They told him, “Lord, come and see.” Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” But some said, “This man healed a blind man. Couldn’t he have kept Lazarus from dying?” Jesus was still angry as he arrived at the tomb, a cave with a stone rolled across its entrance. “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them. But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.” Jesus responded, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?”
How far are you willing to go to have God’s Glorious Goodness overtake you? Faith is the basis of receivership in God! If we don’t believe that what He says is true enough to follow Christ, there is no point in it. Our relationship is based on trust. When Jesus was talking to Martha just before He raised her brother from the dead, she just told Him that she believed that Lazarus would be raised from the dead – one day. But when Jesus came to the tomb ready to do business, she protested due to the natural circumstances. After four days, his body would smell terrible. Jesus responded to her and is speaking to us all today, “Didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s Glory if you believe?” Do you believe that God’s Glory exists today? I do. I have seen it but it was not outside of a storm or giant test. I had to go a little farther in my faith then the time before. Just on the other side of possible to the beginning of impossible. I had to step out of reality into the realm of hope. Was it comfortable? Absolutely not. Was it worth it? Every single time.
Romans 11:36 (NLT)
For everything comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for his glory. All glory to him forever! Amen.
I am forty nine years old. I was saved at eleven. I rededicated my life three times before the final time and was filled with the Holy Spirit in my thirties. I came to Jesus Christ with great expectation. I wandered when it was not an immediate change and did not make the difference that I thought it should make in any given time period. But when I finally decided to give Jesus my all, something incredible happened. My expectations have been met over and over again. It didn’t happen when I wanted it to or how I thought it should but has blown away what I thought was possible and the impossible keeps happening over and over again. Everything comes from Him and exists by His Power intended for His Glory. What glory does God get if He allowed us to suffer? Sin causes suffering. Those things in us contrary to God allow the consequences we loathe. Turn it all over to Jesus and hang on tight because His Glory and Goodness will overtake you over and over again. His Glory is better than anything on this earth. You have been given full authority and power over the earth in Jesus Christ. Don’t let the enemy try to sell you what God wants to give you. He puts a price on those things granted by our freedom and grace in Jesus. Worship the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and strength. He will meet every expectation and do exceedingly abundantly above what you could even think to ask for!
Ephesians 3:20-21 (NLT)
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.