Have you ever wondered why the Bible says, "God gets all of the glory?" Why don't good Christians get to share in God's glory? I mean, why doesn't a good Christian get some of the glory when they sacrifice, laying aside their desires to be obedient to the Lord? If they don't muster up the boldness and take the risk of being viewed as a nutcase to share the gospel, how will anyone get saved? So, why does God get all of the glory when He needs obedient people to work through?
Up until 1996, I had all of these questions. I didn't want to steal God's glory or give His glory to another person. I just wanted to understand why He gets all of the glory. I knew it to be true because the Bible says that God gets all of the glory and He won't share His glory with anyone, but I wanted to understand why. When I praised Him by saying, "God, You get all of the glory…all glory belongs to You, Lord." I wanted to fully understand why that was true. I wanted to say it from my heart, in full understanding, and totally convinced. However, at that time, it didn’t make sense to me, so I was in hot pursuit for an answer.
I would ask God, "Why do You get all of the glory when You need an obedient person to work through?" "Lord, I have noticed 'lukewarm' Christians and 'on fire' Christians in Your church. The on fire Christians go to every church service. They minister to their co-workers. They serve where there is need. They study Your Bible daily and pray daily. However, the lukewarm Christians attend church when they feel like going and skip when they don't feel like going. They may act like a mature Christian in church but totally forget about You for the rest of the week, behaving like heathen." I said, "Lord, why don't on fire Christians get to share Your glory because of their obedience? Your glory doesn't get displayed through disobedient lukewarm Christians. It needs an obedient vessel." I asked these questions when I was an "on fire" Christian, but God answered these questions when I was on my way to becoming a "lukewarm" Christian.
After being filled with the Holy Spirit in 1991, my life with the Lord took off like a rocket. I was so hungry to learn everything about God. I read and studied my Bible everyday. I prayed everyday and talked with God continually during each day. I attended all church services and church related activities. I served in the children's ministry, usher's ministry, greeter's ministry, women's ministry, and had a bible study at my house every week. With every chance, I shared the gospel with people who didn't know the Lord. I even got fired for being open about my faith at work. I would pray for strangers on the street, always looking for an opportunity to reach out to people who didn't know the Lord. The zeal and passion I had would drive me on through each day. I am not telling you this to toot my horn. I wasn't thinking highly of myself at that time, I just had an overwhelming desire to serve and know God.
The reason why I am sharing all of this is to show you the contrast that followed when I ended up in a dry season with the Lord. I felt like I was stripped of everything…my prayer life, my time in the word, my zeal, my desire to go to church, my ability to hear God, my ability to discern, and my tenacity to fight the enemy. It was all gone! -- I want you to notice how many times I said MY. That was MY lesson! More on that later.
I remember thinking, "If I just would get back in the habit of reading the Bible every day. Then the passion would come back." During this dry season, I had stopped reading the bible because, it became like a dead book to me. The Holy Spirit was no longer revealing the meaning of scriptures to me. I felt like I was reading out of a grudging obligation and not from the life the Spirit gives. So, periodically, I would try to get back into reading the Bible daily, but it was still lifeless and it frustrated me, so I would stop again.
I remember thinking, "If I just would pray more, get back into God's presence, then the passion would come back." I had stopped praying during this dry season because my prayers became a struggle. The Holy Spirit wasn't praying through me any longer. The words to pray seemed so laborious, coming only from my brain and not flowing from my spirit. They seemed to fall onto the floor the minute they left my mouth. There was no power in them. So, I tried again, to get back into praying, but it was just more of the same dead prayers, with no hint that the Holy Spirit was involved at all. I hate doing things in my flesh… I won't waste my time if the Holy Spirit doesn't show up.
I used to fight the enemy with vengeance every time I knew he was at work in my life. But during this dry season it seemed like I would just let the enemy beat up on me, rolling over and saying, "Here, you missed a spot."
I used to discern spirits, and the seasons and dealings of God. That was totally gone too. I couldn't even hear God's voice anymore.
I asked God if I was being punished, if I was being disobedient to something, if I had un-repented sin, if there was someone I needed to forgive. What was I doing wrong!?
I wasn't really doing anything wrong, God was answering the question that I had been asking Him for years. Why does God get all of the glory? I came to the realization that the zeal I once had didn’t come from me. Zeal and passion for righteousness is a gift from God! I found that out as a lukewarm Christian desperately trying in my own strength to restore zeal into my life. There was nothing I could do to give myself zeal. I tried everything. Nothing worked…not reading the Bible more, praying more, going to church more, or witnessing more…nothing.
Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, ministering, etc. are not what produces zeal. It is zeal that produces Bible reading, prayer, church attendance, ministering, etc. It all came down to the answer: we can't even take credit for our zeal or our obedience, which is the result of zeal…they both come from the Lord. That is why God gets ALL of the glory.
For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)
Let us take this a step further. Not only does God give us the desire to pursue righteousness; He is the one who brings spiritual power to our actions. If His anointing isn't involved in what we do, our efforts are spiritually dead works. We can't take credit for powerful intercession prayers because if the Holy Spirit doesn't pray through us, our prayers are lifeless. We can't take credit for understanding the scriptures, because if it weren't for the Holy Spirit teaching us the scriptures, the Bible would be just another dead book. We can't take credit for hearing the voice of the Lord, because it is God who opens our ears to hear and to discern. We can't take credit for fighting the enemy; Jesus defeated him a long time ago.
Apart from Him, we can do nothing. God gets all of the glory! Because it is due Him and Him alone! Alleluia!
This is the greatest lesson I have ever learned as a Christian. It has elevated my worship to the Lord. I am now able to say fully assured, "Lord, all glory belongs to You. Aside from You I can do nothing." Every time I do something in obedience to God, I thank Him for my obedience. I hope that didn't sound too silly but that's where my heart is. I totally rely on Him to stir me up, give me zeal, passion, and the desire to do His will. I cooperate with Him but I rely on Him.
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