“I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8).
“For my name’s sake I defer my anger; for the sake of my praise I restrain it for you, that I may not cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction. 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” (Isaiah 48:9-11).
There have been a number of times I’ve read passages like Isaiah 42:8 or Isaiah 48:11 in a corporate worship setting, and I’ve felt uncomfortable quoting God. I find myself wanting to overemphasize the fact that God is saying this, not me! The glory belongs to God and no other. A big part of me wants to have people read it quietly to themselves. This mindset is the mindset we as humans have been designed to have. God is passionate for his own glory. Notice that small dot after the word “glory”? That is a period. I can’t add anything to that statement. God is passionate for his own glory; therefore we are to be passionate for God’s glory. Yet, because of the fall, sin distorts our thinking and causes the natural propensity of our flesh to be man-centered and not God-centered. This seems like a simple little reversion, but the results of this reversion are catastrophic.
Consider a few statements made by leaders at Planned Parenthood just yesterday, March 7, 2017. President Trump offered to continue giving the $500 million dollar tax subsidy to Planned Parenthood if they would commit to ceasing their abortion practices. Planned Parenthood responded through Dawn Laguens, the executive vice president by saying, “Offering money to Planned Parenthood to abandon our patients and our values is not a deal that we will ever accept.” Cecile Richards, the president of Planned Parenthood said, “Planned Parenthood is proud to provide abortion – a necessary service that’s as vital to our mission as birth control or cancer screenings.” Consider the lunacy and evil of their statements. Murdering children is not just a value that they are proud of, but it is their mission. I’m not putting words in their mouth. Out of the overflow of their hearts, their mouths spoke!
Their response is an evidence of the perversion of the fall. We have been created as God-centered humans. The fall distorts our mindsets and makes us man-centered to the point that we are passionate about doing what we want, when we want it, even if it infringes on other people’s rights. The mission of a man-centered mindset is exactly what Planned Parenthood is fighting for: Do all you can to give people power of choice even if another person’s life and rights are threatened.
It is easy to be disgusted when we hear these words. But realize that that is the natural fallen tendency of all of us because of sin. We need Jesus Christ to give us both his righteousness and a new heart as a way to adorn our bodies to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit then leads us to be God-centered, as we were created. We are not created to think about ourselves first. We were created to think of God first. Fight against the innate lies that creep in your mind to make you think that what you are doing for yourself is ultimately your mission. Our mission, as we have seen from Scripture here at Wausau Alliance Church over the last couple weeks, is clear. We are to glorify God by pointing others to glorify God. Glorify God by making disciples of Jesus Christ. Exalt the glory of God above all others!