8/3/11

Desperate for God's Glory

Cindi McMenamin wrote a powerful book to encourage women who feel desperate for change and direction, titled Women on the Edge: Turning Desperate Times into Desire for God (Harvest House Publishers, 2010). She tackles the desperate drives that can devastate ~ desperation for more, for control, for fulfillment, for change, for love, etc. ~ and she explains how to survive these drives and lean hard on the Lord and His Word.

But then McMenamin discusses the positive drives that can liberate us and help us thrive. She talks about the desperation to obey God and to serve Him. She explains our desperate need for God's touch (to be complete in Him). Then, tucked at the back of this helpful book, there is a chapter that spoke to my heart.

We must be desperate for God's glory, McMenamin said, and desiring nothing else. It's natural for most of us to protect our own reputation and image. Sometimes we do this to the neglect or hurt of God's reputation. Like many Christians, I say my heart's desire ~ what I want above all else ~ is for God's name to be honored and magnified (Isaiah 26:8). Yet that holy motive mingles with more base desires: We want to be admired, noticed, praised.

The root of this problem is pride. We're all about our own glory, not our Master's. McMenamin quotes author Richard Foster, from his book A Celebration of Discipline: "A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image," Foster wrote. "We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding." (1)

Foster's recommendation is that we choose to be silent, stopping our foolish self-justification, and allow other to see that we believe God can take care of everything that concerns us, including our reputation.

McMenamin describes ways that we undermine God's glory ~ simple actions born in attitudes concerned more about ourselves than God ~ and then she suggests ways that we can respond to God so He is glorified ... so His glory is showcased. (Get Women on the Edge and read this powerful chapter for yourself.)

One part of the chapter explains my struggle with this issue. Earlier in the book (pages 96 and 120), McMenamin shares two other vignettes from my life, but in this chapter (page 196) she explains the day when I realized I have "No Time to Waste."

My friend mentioned the stress I was undergoing a few years ago when I ended up in the hospital. I was trying to make my life work, and it wasn't working. Finally, I put my hands out in front of me and said, "Lord, my hands are open. You can take from me or give to me as You will." It was a pivotal time of surrender, one of the wisest choices I've made.

Today, I ask women who they want to be, and how those desires line up with God's heart. "Those are questions we must ask," McMenamin noted, "if we want to be desperate for [God's] glory."

The older I get, the more I realize that I don't have time to waste. I don't want to mess around. I don't want to play it safe. I want an adventure with God and I want my life to count for Him. I want everything I do to showcase the glory of God.

Some years ago, Life Action Ministries evangelist Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. wrote, "Practically, God's desire is to manifest His holy life through the lives of His people, in order that His glory might be seen to be great in the church, and in the world. He chose us, justified us, redeemed us, and forgave us 'that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted Christ' (Ephesians 1:12). We are to be "jealous for the glory and reputation of God and eager to please Him," Fehsenfeld wrote. (2)

I don't know that I'd say I'm fully desperate or jealous for God's glory yet, but I do know that I want to be bold and courageous in seeking it. For me, it's all wrapped up in the choices I make every day to shine for the Lord. His Word says, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven" Matthew 5:14-16.

The bottom line is, we are not to boast in ourselves; we are not to glory in others. We are to "glory in the Lord...." (1 Corinthians 3:5-7) and bring attention to His magnificent character and glorious being. Let's get about that business.

(1) Richard J. Foster, Celebration of Discipline (New York: Harper San Francisco, 1998), p. 101 [Quoted in McMenamin's book, p. 188.]

(2) Del Fehsenfeld, Jr., Separation: Biblically Defined ~ An Appeal for Biblical Balance (Life Action Publishing, 1981), pp. 13-14.

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