STEALING GOD'S GLORY

January 31, 2018

ACTS 12:18-25

STEALING GOD’S GLORY

 

The response to glory is worship. For instance, when we see something glorious in our eyes, whether it is a famous athlete, celebrity, or even food, we have this knee-jerk reaction to worship it. The modern day version of worship is often times found in spreading that glory through social media posts. When we see the glory of a beautiful sunset, we begin to praise it by taking a picture and posting it on Instagram for the world to see. Yet with all this glory that is going around, people since the beginning of time have been trying to steal glory from the Lord. The temptation of Satan upon Eve was that she could be like God or in a sense be God herself when in reality if she but worshipped God then there would have been a realization that she was in fact like God because she was created in His image! Ever since the fall, man has been trying to either get rid of God, replace God, or be God and when we try to be what we are not in this regards, it will only lead to bad times. Today, ask yourself, is my life centered around giving God maximum glory or am I seeking to build my own glory and reputation?

 

NOTES ON THE TEXT

 

22 And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” 23 Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.

24 But the word of God increased and multiplied.

 

The people were worshipping Herod and giving him glory by saying that he was not a mere human but god! Immediately Herod was struck down by an angel of the Lord and what is interesting was that he was struck down immediately the moment he stole God’s glory but not when he was persecuting the church! This leads us to a very interesting topic and let us compare and contrast Herod’s life to that of Paul’s.

 

Both killed and persecuted the church but their endings are dramatically different. What happened? The difference was their ultimate position before God. Despite Paul’s persecution of the church, what Paul was trying to do regardless of his misguided actions, was to glorify God. Pharisees were the religious group that rose up after the years of exile and oppression from other nations. They were the people who realized that Israel was judged because they disobeyed God by not following the rules so what they did in their fear was to create a set of man made rules that prevented them from even approaching the possibility of breaking one of God’s rules. Thus we see that they started with the right intentions but what started in fear has created a religion and not a relationship with the Lord.

 

Paul wanted to glorify God and seeing this new “christian” movement was for Paul a trigger. In his mind, he was thinking that these new people were going to only bring judgment from God again like their ancestors and therefore the passion of his persecution was guided from past fears. Herod on the other hand, was trying to steal God’s glory. Why is this bad? Whenever man tries to replace God, it always brings sin, which brings chaos to order. Bad things happen when order is disrupted.

 

For instance, when kids make the decisions over parents and the order of power is disrupted, it not only weakens the parent’s position but the child grows up without discipline, respect for authority, and becomes selfish. Humans are poor gods for we were never created with the ability to hold such a position. When we try to hold the position of God, we end up self-destructing under the weight of an impossible task and end up destroying the lives of those around us.

 

So how can we live to glorify God and not try to steal His glory?

  1. Always acknowledge God in all things, especially your successes.

    1. When people congratulate you, say thank you but realize in your heart and even tell them how God’s grace has made it possible. Don’t say that it was all God though! It may seem contradictory but if it was ALL GOD then the outcome would be better. Accept the compliment but realize that God’s grace empowers you to get it done, you played a part!

  2. You can’t save everybody

    1. Know your limits! Some of us get so frustrated when someone that we have been evangelizing to doesn’t come be saved. I get it, you want them to be saved and you did everything you could but you must remind yourself that you are not the Holy Spirit. It’s not up to you to be saved so don’t get upset at yourself for not saving people because you were never built to do such a thing. This doesn’t mean you don’t be a faithful witness but realize that salvation belongs to the Lord and it is He who gives it.

  3. Don’t make other people God in your life.

    1. This is not so much you stealing God’s glory for yourself but trying to replace God with someone else. This happens through friendships but a lot of times through romantic relationships. Is this person in your life an attempt to replace God whom you cannot see for someone you can see immediately? Are you expecting things from people that only God can fulfill? How do you know? When you have unreasonable expectations from your relationships and demand not outrightly but in a subtle ways demand perfection from them. What are they fulfilling imperfectly that God can fulfill perfectly and why are you idolizing them are key questions to ask yourself for when you idolize someone, it is not so much your frustration that is going to be heartbreaking but its is their slow crushing because of the weight of the expectation of being God in your life that they cannot fulfill.

 

All in all there is an order to things. If God is not first then chaos reigns in all areas of life. Today may the order be set straight so that you can live the life you’re meant to live!

 

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