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Christian LivingFamily Discipleship

Glory: Understanding a Confusing Religious Word

At different times, I have been asked, “Why do you write?” One reason is when something is bothering my brain. I feel like I have to figure it out and get it clear in my head. I hate fuzzy thinking!

That is part of the motivation behind this three-part series that I am posting on the podcast. I became increasingly bothered by our regular use of the word glory. What do we mean when we speak of God’s glory and our glorifying him?

I ended up preaching a series of three short messages on Sunday night at my church. The first is entitled Glimpses of God’s Glory. The second is Glimpses of Christ’s Glory, and finally, Glimpses of the Believer’s Glory.

What Does Glory Mean?
I’ll give you just a small taste of the podcast to whet your appetite. The word glory has to do with greatness, excellence, and beauty. One of the reasons we may be fuzzy in our thinking is that the Bible uses the word glory in at least four different ways.

Glory Owned – God is great, beautiful, magnificent, and excellent. This is intrinsic glory.
Glory Seen – The greatness of God manifests itself in different ways that can be seen. Specifically, creation, Christ, and the Consummation show off God’s hidden glory.
Glory Given – This aspect of glory is when we express that greatness with words of praise back to God.
Glory Boasted – This lesser aspect of glory is what we hope in or boast in when we are afraid.

We see this in the human realm all the time. As a New England resident, I had the privilege of watching Tom Brady play football. He has been called the GOAT – the Greatest Of All Time.

All four aspects of glory play out on a human level. He is a great player. We see his greatness displayed on the field. We talk about his greatness among ourselves. And, if we are worried before a game, we remind ourselves he is on our team.

What is the Connection?
What does this study of glory have to do with family discipleship? In one sense, nothing. And in another sense, everything.

As a ministry focused on family discipleship, I need to remind you and myself that family is not ultimate. Christ is ultimate. Marriage and family are not eternal. Jesus Christ is eternal. And no matter what we do, we are to do it all to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31).

The best parents will be the ones who see the beauty of Christ above the beauty of their children. The best parents will be the ones who, because they love Jesus more and more each year, will love their children in the proper proportion each year. They will find their identity not in their children but in Christ.