Lesser Glory

“How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and you do not seek the glory that is from the one and only God?” (John 5:44).

Do you ever get sidetracked in your thinking about glorious things? I will admit that I am often awestruck by nature – canyons, mountains, the ocean, even little things like birds, flowers, and bugs. There are a lot of glorious things in this world. There are moments and accomplishments, too, that can seem more glorious than they actually are. We get distracted by a promotion at work, a new toy in the garage, a vacation, or some other diversion. These things are all glorious to a degree, depending on how much we value them. My toddler is a good reminder of how fickle (and easily impressed) people can be. Every new thing in her life is her “favorite” – three minutes of viewing a new television show and she declares it is her favorite; a toy at the store that she does not even own is her favorite toy; whoever gives her gum at church is her favorite person.

Do we see the things in our lives the same way? The most glorious battle is the one that was recently won, the most glorious sunrise is the one we are currently observing, the most glorious achievement is whatever we just accomplished. But do not forget that everything glorious in this world is really only temporary, fleeting, fragile, and small compared to God’s glory. “For all flesh is like grass, and all its glory is like the flower of grass; the grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord endures forever” (1 Peter 1:24).

I think this is what happens when people fall into the trap described in Romans 1:20-25. Even though this world’s glory is only a passing reflection of God, many lose sight of that fact and worship and serve the creation rather than the Creator. We become so enamored with nature, or worldly treasure, or fame, or our image, that we never recognize the infinitely more glorious God behind all of these things!