Honey, I Shrunk God

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 9:29 PM 0 comments



Yesterday, February 27, I attended a pop concert which had raised up a this-is-for-the-glory-God banner and I, being a confessor of the old truth that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever, braced myself and expected the display of God's glory and His perfect attributes in the presentations. And to my dismay, I believe the concert followed the trend of having a poor view of glorifying God as did many programs have already fallen into, an error wherein the attempt to magnify God ends up into shrinking Him.

Therefore, I decided to present here some forgotten principles that we ought to be considering if we truly want to give God glory. These are not just for correcting some mistakes committed by a concert but much more of a reclamation of the proper position of God's glory, which is shallowed down by a lot of ministries nowadays. I will just be presenting four points which I put in an acronym S-T-A-R. Does your glorifying of God involve a STAR? Glorifying God includes a STAR:
1) Serving as He Prescribed
2) Trembling at His Word
3) Abiding in Him Alone
4) Rejoicing in the Cross

Glorifying GOD Includes Serving as He Prescribed

Several times we hear the statement, "Whatever you do, do it for the glory of God," perhaps referring to 1 Cor. 10:31. Yet does this mean that the "whatever" here stands for any activity without exception? Of course, gambling cannot be done for the glory of God neither can you lie for the glory of God. Affirmatively, there are restrictions and prescriptions as revealed in the Word of God. And the prescription is, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God." (Col. 3:16)

God can never, a strong never, be displayed glorious by songs promoting humanism and self-love.

"Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD." (Lev. 10:1,2) May we approach and serve God in ways that He has prescribed, in ways that display His holiness.

Glorifying GOD Includes Trembling at His Word

"He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man; he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck; he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig's blood; he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol." (Isa. 66:3) Here is a worship that God does not accept. In fact, it is a worship that the Worshipped hates. Outwardly, it appears with no problem, following the instructions of the Lord. But what made God abominate it? Verse 2 contrasts this succeeding verse, "But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word." Humility, contrition, and reverence are essential to an acceptable worship.

We don't tremble at His Word when we use (or misuse) it and apply (or misapply) it with wrong elucidations. For example, we don't tremble at His word when we quote (or misquote),
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths." (Prov. 3:5,6)

and expound this trust in the Lord as a mere "wish upon a star" and not as a solid faith but just an unsure dream "somewhere over the rainbow."

We don't tremble at His word when Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope," but we hastily connect it with love downfall and sing, "Kung ako na lang sana ang iyong minahal, Di ka na muling mag-iisa, Kung ako na lang sana ang iyong minahal, Di ka na muling luluha pa."

We also do not tremble at His Word if we carelessly rebuild Bible stories and depart from its truthfulness. Committing a mistake of making Paul a Roman soldier instead of a Pharisee may discredit our devotion with the Word and, hence, discredit our message. May we be faithful to God and to His Word as we give our utmost for His highest.

Glorifying GOD Includes Abiding in Him Alone

In the time of the Reformers, they have summarized their warcry with the five solas of reformation. "Sola" is a Latin word for alone. One these solas is the cry for Soli Deo Gloria: Soli = Alone, Deo = God, Gloria = Glory. Therefore, it shouts that God alone be glorified since the spiritual blessings are from Him alone. It is not just that we glorify God but that we glorify God alone. It was not really new in the time of Reformation. In fact, God shouts Soli Deo Gloria,
"For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another." (Isa. 48:11)

But it is saddening when we try to glorify God while glorifying others beside God. It is saddening when names of men are mentioned more than Christ's. It is saddening when secular songs with no clear Christian message are sung more than Christian songs (in the case of the concert, only 8 out of the 22 numbers are Christian). It is saddening when earthly institutions are commended more than the church. It is even more saddening when the audience is left with the impression that the church needs us and we need their training. "Paano mo i-glo-glorify ang Diyos kung hindi ka makakanta?" and "God cannot be physically present everywhere to train you therefore He created Center for Pop Music." are foul utterances. God is not really glorified if we do not glorify Him ALONE.

Glorifying GOD Includes Rejoicing in the Cross

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." (2 Cor. 4:6) In here, the great apostle communicates that the knowledge of the glory of God is in the face of Jesus Christ. This reminds us that to be God-glorifying, we ought to be Christ-exalting: rejoicing in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And, therefore, join the apostle when he exhorts, "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2) We should let others know only Christ and Him crucified. Nothing lacking, nothing spilling, nothing diverting. Nothing but Christ. Sadly, more often, we put Christ as only an accessory as if He is just an add-on to our needs. Or we accessorize Christ as if He alone is not sufficient. Instead of parading that the penal substitutionary work of Christ is all we need and our only hope, we accessorize Him with a lot of additional "needs." The need for talents, the need for friends, the need for families, the need for money, and even the need for a dog. How absurd are we when we say that the greatest love is the love of God in Christ yet still sing, "Learning to love yourself, It is the greatest love of all." These are not our needs. Families, friends, money, talents, and the totality of our being are given to us to show the world that these are not our treasures. Christ is our all-satisfying Treasure. "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Phil. 3:8)*

Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise
Thou mine inheritance, now and always
Thou and thou only, first in my heart
High King of heaven, my treasure thou art.
(Be Thou My Vision)

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.

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*In the concert's case, Sarah Balabagan, the guest performer, exempts herself. Her message of her newness of life found in Christ is clear. She exalted Christ more than all the other numbers rolled into one. It would have been better if the preceding presentations plainly defined a path going towards her points. I pray for God's guidance and protection for her.

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