You always knew it was coming. For some reason the service in our small town church was getting revved up and you could sense what was about to happen. Then one of them would stand up and let loose. And more often than not, if one of them stood up then another one would as well. We called them shouters, screamers…the titles would change but the high pitch chant of getting excited about God rarely did; “WELL GLORY, WELL GLORY, I SAY GLORY.” And heaven forbid you were a visitor that day or you may have jumped right out of your skin. I usually saw it coming and still would jump a little. But these three older saints of the church would always get excited when they started to think about all God had done in their lives and all they could do was give Him glory.
But maybe this story is something completely foreign and unfamiliar to you. Maybe your tradition regarding glory might be something a bit more high liturgy like the Westminster Confession, “What is the chief end of man?, Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.” So when you think about glory, you think about it in the context of man’s chief mission. But whatever the case it seems that both traditions value the idea of giving God glory. Giving God the praise and thanks he deserves. Placing him in His rightful place..and yet.
We all know the verse. It is one of those that was used in tracks, evangelism classes, vacation Bible schools, by street preachers, etc. etc. Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. The word for fall short is the type of tense used for continually falling short…continually missing the mark. And yet our chief end is to give God glory. That’s why taking verses out of context can be so dangerous. If you keep reading through verse 24 you read, “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” Now it starts to make sense. Even though everyone keeps falling short, everyone is made just/right through Jesus Christ. We are therefore all able to give glory to God through the power of Christ. Which is where it really gets cool.
I go back to the saintly ladies from the church that I grew up in and I think about the songs that used to get them excited. Songs like “And Can It Be”, “Heaven Came Down” and “Victory in Jesus” and I find a common element. They all talk about how Jesus left glory for us. He gave up his position, his power, heaven itself to become a way for us to give glory to God once again. Glory fell so that we might participate in giving true glory to God once again. Kind of makes me want to shout, “WELL GLORY”. That is a message of redemption! That is the even the message of Christmas (just to add some seasonal context).
And so I pray every morning with my boys on the way to school, “May we give you glory today God”. Because it is more than declaring it. We are called to give God glory with our entire life. May you give God the glory he deserves today.