“To glorify someone is to praise, enjoy, and delight in them.” ~Tim Keller
This short tweet stopped me in my tracks. It’s not that I hadn’t heard these ideas before, or didn’t know the definition of glorify.
But, simply, this little definition provides such a practical litmus test for us as believers. Sometimes “glorify God” can seem so ethereal, but this brings it down to the practical level.
WHO DO I PRAISE, ENJOY, AND DELIGHT IN?
This is one of those questions that we all know the “right” answer to. But don’t let your heart leap over to the ease of that “right” answer.
Instead, consider: if a group of objective people was put into a conference room and one of them hit “play” on a compilation soundtrack of your words, written communication, and thoughts, AND could see the hidden motivations behind your choices over the last six months, who would be at the center of your mental focus?
- Whose praise am I most preoccupied with?
- Whose joy do I seek?
- Who do I place at the center of my delight?
WHO IS IT THAT I’M GLORIFYING?
- MY HUSBAND? – Is there an inordinate focus on my earthly husband? Do I expect him to fulfill me in ways that only God can? Do I grasp for his praise, his notice, his recognition? Do I primarily derive my joy and delight from him? Do his moods and actions lead me on a roller coaster of emotions and moods?
- MY CHILDREN? – Are they the people I most wholeheartedly praise and seek to please? Do their successes or failures puff me up high with pride or bring me down low with despair? Am I wrapped up in their doings, hurts, and successes?
- SOMEONE ELSE? Perhaps a friend, parents, boss, or someone I look up to? Perhaps a celebrity or author?
- ME? – Am I ultimately a praise-seeker, pursuing my own self-focused “kingdom,” and delighting in the things that please and promote me? Are my own ways, ease, and desires the center of my focus?
Who is it that I praise, enjoy, and delight in?
- Think back to that soundtrack of your mind– would an honest evaluation of your moment-by-moment thoughts point to Christ, or to someone/something else, at the center?
I suspect that, in that room where all our thoughts, actions, words, and motivations were laid bare, very few of us could honestly answer, “Christ is consistently at the center. Christ is who I most praise, enjoy, and delight in.”
While some of us may find that our praise and joys rest on others, for most of us, I would imagine that our commitment to our own promotion, success, and happiness is what looms largest in the priorities of our hearts.
When our joy terminates on an individual (even if it is the individual of “self”), it is an unsustainable joy. Only God can bear up under the weight of continual praise and glory. It would crush anyone else to be at the center of our affections and expectations in that way.
When I see myself and my heart motivations in this light, it makes me want to fight harder against worship of anything other than Christ.