Does God's focus on his own glory indicate egotism?
As I was writing that last post, about God’s purpose being about his glory, an old thought popped into my heard, a thought that I’d stuffed away until now, because it seemed too disrespectful, too terrible. I knew it was wrong, but I hadn’t entirely worked out why it was. That thought had to do with the idea that God wanting glory seemed kind of…egotistical. Have you ever thought that same thing?
Writing brings up all kinds of stuff that I’ve got to deal with before I move on, and this was one of those things. I’m grateful it came up, because I started studying, and what I found was good. I’ll share with you what I learned. A primary resource I used in my research was this article from John Piper, at Desiring God.
The first thing I learned was that I wasn’t alone. One of my favorite writers and Christian apologists apparently had the same hang up. C.S. Lewis, in his book, Reflections on the Psalms, said that one of the great obstacles to him coming to believe in the God of the Bible, was the constant demand from God, “for our worship like a vain woman who wants compliments.”
I can’t help but see God’s glory all around me. I know he deserves all glory. So what’s the problem? I thought this was an interesting quote from John Piper,
“…many Christians think it is good for us to be God-centered, but don’t feel at all comfortable with God being God-centered. We should be Christ-exalting, but Christ shouldn’t be Christ-exalting.”
And here is his revealing question in response to that,
“Does my opposition to God’s God-centeredness reveal that my supposed God-centeredness is just a cover for wanting myself at the center, and the use of God to endorse that because he is so centered on me?”
C.S. Lewis did not keep his original opinion about God being like a vain woman. He later went on to say,
“My whole, more general, difficulty about the praise of God depended on my absurdly denying to us, as regards the supremely Valuable, what we delight to do, what indeed we can’t help doing, about everything else we value. I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.”
I agree. Think about when you feel the most pure joy. Is it not in the moments when we are in the presence of beauty and greatness? When we forget ourselves? And then, we want to express what we experienced. That’s what we’re made for. Isn’t that what great art, really, is all about?
God’s purpose for us is for us to become more like Jesus, and in doing so, to reveal his glory. He provided a way for us to do that through the death and resurrection of his Son.. God is all about his glory and is all about us bringing him glory, not because he’s an egomaniac or he needs it, but because he knows that the expression of his glory is what we were made for. It is the only thing that can truly bring us happiness. What he’s asking us to do demonstrates his love for us. It is grace.
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” John 15:11
We are made for God’s glory. That is his purpose and his special plan for our lives. Only God knows the best way to bring us closer to that end. We can trust in his love and his plan for our lives. He didn’t send his Son to save us for only for a future in heaven, and then leave us to live out our daily lives on our own. No, we were saved so that our lives, here and now, could bring him glory. We can find joy, even in the hard times, because Christ is living in and through us, for his Father’s glory.