Our Father, which is in Heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come, Your will be done in Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day, our daily bread,and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive others their trespasses against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory.
Seeing as it is God's Kingdom, and God's power that is bringing forth His Kingdom, it makes sense that He should get all the glory. If we don't give Him the glory He is entitled to, we can get ourselves in big trouble. In Isaiah 42:8, He says, "I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images."
It is not a good idea to make God angry. He can do some stuff, let me tell you, to set us in our place. Look what happened to Herod when he gave a stirring speech, and the people were so impressed with it, and with the spectacle of the shimmering, silver robes he was wearing, that they said, "This isn't the voice of a man; it's the voice of a god!" Acts 2:23 says, "And immediately the angel of the Lord struck him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and died." Ugh!
We need to give God the credit for everything that is accomplished through us. That does not mean that we have to be tedious every time someone gives us a little compliment, such as, "That was a great word you delivered this morning," or, "You did a beautiful job of painting that backdrop," or, "Wow! You called me at just the right time and told me just what I needed to hear." We don't have to sanctimoniously reply, "Well, it's all the Lord, you know." They already know. They are just encouraging us to keep on being obedient.
One of my friends said that when people complimented her on delivering a prophecy, she simply said, "Thank you," and in her heart, she lifted the praise to the Lord like a bouquet and said, "This is yours, Lord."
We know that if anyone thinks we're a god because they received a miracle through our prayers, we are supposed to set them straight about that, even if it means that after they find out that were are mere humans, it puts our lives at risk. That is what happened to Paul and Barnabas in Acts 14. But how else could we possibly be disobedient to God in not giving Him glory?
Maybe by not praising Him in the dance when He prompts us to do it, or by closing ourselves off from hearing Him prompt us to praise Him in the dance. We don't want to make a display of ourselves and have people think that we look ridiculous, do we? King David made a display of himself and some people thought he looked ridiculous.
What was David's response to critism? "I am going to do it more and look even more ridiculous!" God liked David. He made him some big, heavy–duty promises about how the Messiah would be descended from his line, and He promised David other wonderful stuff, too.
What if God requires us to do something undignified, such as perform a weird prophetic sign? Are we willing to do it? Why not? He's the only one who is supposed to be glorified. What does it matter if the rest of us look like buffoons?
How do we handle criticism? I am not saying that I am really good at handling it when people pick at me, or even when they have a legitimate criticism, but I give the matter of how to deal with criticism some thought because I want to improve. Do we take everything really personally? Are we afraid that everything we have built will crumble, if we don't defend ourselves against even the least little remark? Is our self–esteem so fragile that we are not willing to acknowledge that we make mistakes sometimes? It sounds like a control issue, doesn't it?
When a person has lived a long time, they've had opportunity to see a lot of weird things. Many years ago, I was surprised about a little situation that came up. I knew a lady who sat under the ministry of a woman who taught others about operating in spiritual gifts, and she got into big doo–doo with that leader over something that was utterly ridiculous.
The lady attended a women's evangelistic meeting, and when she was talking to the committee ladies afterwards, she told them that they could improve their meetings by putting tablecloths on the tables and making things a bit fancier, so that they would be more attractive to the unbelievers who were being invited to the meetings.
That makes sense. If I were an unbeliever, perhaps a young mother who needed a break, I would be interested in going to meetings that looked like we were having a tea party. What a nice break that would be from having to look at my own house with kids' toys scattered about.
It was unbelievable to me how petty those women were whom she said that to. To the woman's face, they seemed to accept what she said, but they got into a lather with each other about it later. What was there to get upset about? It was a useful suggestion.
One of them reported what the woman said to the leader who taught the course on spiritual gifts that she attended. The leader replied that the woman did not represent her ministry and the woman's criticisms were not the opinions of her ministry.
The next time the woman attended the class on spiritual gifts, the leader sat there scowling, and delivered a harsh, stern diatribe about "people" who brought reproach on "this ministry" by voicing their opinions, which have nothing in common with the opinions of the ministry. I am sure that the matter had been thoroughly discussed in that group, too, and that everyone knew who the leader was referring to.
Talk about a tempest in a teacup! The poor woman was crushed under all the censure she got from having suggested putting tablecloths on the tables and adding a few flowers. I can hardly wait to attend a meeting where I can appropriately suggest that they put some tablecloths on the tables, just to see what happens. It was all so stupid.
My opinion of that leader went way down after I saw how she handled that silliness, getting so worried about what people would think of her because they were mad at someone who attended her course, particularly since the woman had not said anything that was out of line.
What would have been wrong with saying, "Well, you know, her opinions are her own, and if you have a problem with them, you should talk to her about it." Maybe it would be wise to stop right there, in the interest of not involving one's ministry in that dispute.
There really wouldn't have been anything wrong,though, with adding, "But she did have a good point, didn't she? Wouldn't it make things look a bit nicer for your guests if you put tablecloths on the tables? Maybe you should pray about God supplying the money for it." However, seeing what was going on with those women, maybe it would be wiser to stay out of their frenzy, and pray that they came to their senses and didn't cause the other lady any more misery.
The problem was, the woman had mixed motives. I don't doubt that she was building God's Kingdom, but she forgot that it was God's Kingdom for a moment, and got all worked up about what people might think about her. Man! Who cares what a lot of petty, small–minded people think? The people whose opinions I am impressed with are those who are rational and live the good stuff that they say they believe. If that leader had not been concerned about her glory, she would have done something to further God's glory in the situation, and let Him vindicate her if she got criticized for it.
It made me feel cautious about her when I learned how she treated that poor woman. I never developed any interest in taking her classes. I did not want to become the target of her wrath if someday, someone complained about something trivial in regards to me, and she felt that associating with me brought reproach on her ministry.
We may not be involved in ministry in a formal way, but all of us have a responsibility to further God's Kingdom in whatever way comes to hand. Also, to pray for more opportunities to do so.
It is okay to be thrilled with how God uses us, whom we may have never imagined that we would be chosen to write a cool poem, or see someone healed immediately after we prayed for them, or show up at just the right time and be led to do just the right thing. Yeah, it's fun. But to God be the glory, for it's His plan and His power that makes the plan happen. We are just the workmen.
Your word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against you.
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Copyright © 2010, Lanny Townsend
Page modified by Lanny Townsend on June 17, 2010
Scripture references on this website are closely paraphrased from e–Sword's King James Bible.