Encountering the glory


The goal of our lives as Christians is nothing less than to manifest the glory of God. How we do this is explained by a detour into the meaning of the word “glory.”

The Greek word the Bible uses for glory was originally a word meaning appearance. This word figuratively came to refer to our reputation -- how others look at us. We have a physical appearance, but we also have a deeper character appearance or reputation. Behind our outward appearance is the inner core or essence of who we are as a person. Our essence makes an impact. The impact, multiplied over and over by our words and actions, creates our reputation -- what people think of us. This is our moral or character “appearance.” It could be a good appearance or a bad appearance, depending on our life and character.

When the Bible uses this word in relation to God, it takes on a different meaning.  This outward “appearance” or “reputation” of God, his utter perfection, is totally different from ours. It raises the idea of “appearance” to a whole new level. And so in English we began to translate the word as applied to God by a different word -- glory.

As we become like Christ, we ourselves begin to carry a measure of his glory. How? By the fact that we begin to look like him. Our appearance begins to become like his appearance. Some people in the Christian world make a terrible mistake by identifying glory with someone who comes with a dramatic prophecy or apparent word or supernatural manifestation from God, or perhaps someone with a dynamic personality, or someone claiming to be blessed with material prosperity.

This we foolishly call glory, and we follow such people -- and become the blind leading the blind.  But true glory is manifested in people whose essence is so filled with the Holy Spirit that the Spirit is able to produce the love, goodness, faithfulness, joy, peace, long suffering and gentleness of Jesus Christ in our character and our actions. Our appearance becomes more like his appearance.  This is the glory of God in us, for it is ultimately created by God himself through his Spirit.

If we are going to be glory-seekers, this is the glory we should seek.

Next week, a little more on the same subject…