Remember when first you felt “I am an adult?” Maybe it was the first time you took the family car for a solo drive or stayed out all night. Perhaps it was the first long trip you took by yourself, or when you stood in front of a mirror in your new football uniform.
For many of us, it was going off to college, and the heady experience of being away from home and on our own for the first time. No parents censoring our dress, our activities or our choice of friends. We reached a new plateau, a new position in life, and we gloried in the sense of independence and achievement being an adult conferred upon us. A current TV series, “Glory Daze,” tries to capture this common experience.
Our desire for glory, to distinguish ourselves in some way, do something that others admire, or attain something that brings us gratification never really goes away. It is a universal soul addiction. Remember your first car? It may have been new or used, but your name was on the registration slip and it was all yours! You felt on top of the world driving it around, and you washed and waxed it frequently. It was pristine!
Some of you can remember other moments of glory like winning the big game, getting elected to an office at school, being employee of the month, salesman of the year, landing your first “real career job, or seeing your first child born.
All these events bring with them a sense of achievement and exhilaration that we relish and want to keep. The only problem is we can’t. The glory of all these fades with time, sometimes very quickly.
That first car eventually gets door dings, stains on the interior and starts smelling like old pizza and fries. There is always another game to win, another school election, another employee whose achievements rival yours. And your first child? Of course you love and take pride in them, but sometimes they get on your last nerve and you want to send them permanently to Grandma’s!
Fading glory is a repetitive pattern everywhere we look, and is not limited to us as individuals. Long gone is the glory and majesty of whole cultures and civilizations, like Egypt, Greece, Rome, the British empire, the Ming dynasty of China, the mighty Watusi of Africa, or the Maya of the Yucatan Peninsula and central America. None of it lasts!
Two thousand years ago, the apostle John noted this pattern when he wrote: “For the world offers only a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave.”(I John 2: 16a, 17a)
Yet our desire for glory remains. The apostle Paul tells us that our constant desire for temporary glory blinds us and keeps us in a daze. He invites us to come out of our “glory daze” and see the real glory we were created for, and the only glory that can satisfy our longing.
“Peoples minds are hardened and a veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. So all of us who have had that veil removed, can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord, who is the Spirit, makes us more and more like Him as we are changed into His glorious image.” (II Corinthians 2: 15a, 16, 18)
We are created in God’s image, and nothing other than reflecting His glory will ever fulfill our desire!
Please come and join us this Sunday at 10:30 AM and discover more about reflecting God’s glory. My sermon “Going from Glory to Glory, Part II” is the 8th installment in our “Reformer’s Pledge” series.