Glory and Love

“All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.” (John 17:10 | NIV)

The Greek word translated “glory” is doxa. It likely looks familiar to churchgoers who grew up standing in Sunday worship to sing the Doxology. Its meaning comes from another root word that denotes “to be of reputation, honor resting from a good opinion.” In other words, glory refers to something or someone revealed in some way or other; hence, “to glorify” means to reveal the worth, value, or honor of another. When we apply this understanding to Christ’s statement in John 17, we grasp more fully your purpose and mine in this world. Collectively and singularly we reveal the worth, value, honor and beauty of Christ to the unknowing and unbelieving world. This harkens back to Jesus’ imagery in John 15 of a vine and its branches. The only way anyone discerns the value of the vine is by observing the beauty and tasting the quality of its fruit. Herein lies an opportunity of eternal consequence—my obedience, love and humble service shouts approval of the Son; in fact, all the stars and galaxies combined cannot reveal more fully the worth of God than each simple act of love on my part.

Make no mistake about it—I deplore inconsistent rhetoric, lawless destruction of that which offends, and politicians that employ fear tactics to paralyze opposition and garner votes for political and personal ambition. I will continue to rail against injustice of any variety, and endeavor to match opinion with corresponding action. But what disturbs most is when I detect a shift within me from compassion to cynicism, from love to disdain. A day will come when I no longer walk this way, and all that persists is the memory of how I loved or failed to do so. “If nature abhors a vacuum, Christ abhors a vagueness. If God is love, Christ is love for this one person, this one place, this one time-bound and time-ravaged self” (Christian Wiman). What I want most is to be remembered as a man who loved like a hurricane—stood strong by his family, adored his wife, hoisted courageously the banner of Christ, loved the unlovely, and cherished the forsaken. Will a sweet fragrance that reminds of Jesus remain, or will the stench of self-importance spoil my legacy? I learned the hard way that I can never control how others respond, but I can and must love from the inside-out, to the glory of Jesus Christ.

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Corinthians 13:1 | ESV)

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