In Ephesians 1:17, Paul addresses his prayer to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory (verse 17). Nowhere else in the Bible is God called the “Father of glory,” though God is identified countless times as Father and as the source of all glory. The root meaning of “glory” in Greek actually goes back to the word “appearance,” which figuratively means our reputation -- how others look at us. Behind our outward appearance is the inner core of who we are as a person -- our “essence,” as one Bible scholar puts it. 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 “appearance.” It could be a good appearance or a bad appearance depending on our life and character. But when the Bible uses this word in relation to God, it takes on a different meaning.
God’s essence is his holiness, his complete love, truth, faithfulness. The impact this makes on us is like blinding light in our darkness. The supernatural power of who he is means that he often encounters men and women on earth in the form of blinding light, lightning and so on, such that to gaze on his appearance means death. This outward “appearance” or “reputation” of God is totally different from ours. And so the word “glory” came to be associated with the appearance of God alone, his glory. In English we created different words like “reputation” for when we are talking about people and not God. Yet as we become like Christ, we begin to carry a measure of his glory. We begin to look like him. We who behold the glory of the Lord, Paul says, we who are being filled with his Spirit, are being transformed form one degree of glory into another (2 Cor. 3:17-18).
In the charismatic world, we 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 the true glory is manifested in people whose essence is so filled with the Holy Spirit that the Holy Spirit is able to produce the love, goodness, faithfulness, joy, peace, long suffering and gentleness of Jesus Christ in our character and our actions. As these actions impact the world around us, we gain a good glory. But this is truly the glory of God, 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.