God Is in Charge of His Glory—NOT You!
by Kathy Collard Miller
This is good news: God is in charge of his glory—NOT you! Knowing that has helped me trust God more because I know even my mistakes are useable by God for his glory. I’m not responsible for the growth of a believer or the salvation of an unbeliever.
The Apostle Paul has the godly perspective. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me (I Corinthians 4:3-4).
Paul doesn’t jump into self-contempt like I do. He seeks God’s opinion. I think so many of us depend upon our self-evaluations rather than looking to God for his judgement of what happened. We conclude we didn’t say the right things. But we don’t know what our friend needed to hear. Maybe the very words we said—and are judging—were what she needed to hear.
So many times I’ve followed up on a conversation, like yesterday, and apologized for what I said. Most of the time—like yesterday— the other person replied, “Really? I don’t remember.” Or another time, a friend said, “No, I didn’t think anything bad.” I had been all upset, rehearsing what I said, but my friend wasn’t.
Paul continues, We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute (vs. 10).
Evidently Paul’s opponents in Corinth are saying those things about him, so he is responding sarcastically. He’s basically saying, “Of course, you’re right. You are wise but we are fools. You are strong but we are weak. You are held in honor but we are disreputable. Shame on us.”
He is making light of their opinions of him because he doesn’t mind being seen in those ways. His motive is not to be seen well but to cooperate with God’s plan. What a lesson for us. We don’t have to mind what others say either.
If we are afraid of appearing as fools when we speak of the Lord, we might want to examine our hearts. We could evaluate whether our self-contempt is because we fear looking foolish or silly or unintelligent or whatever we have vowed to never appear as or feel like. When we have the purified heart of sacrifice for God’s glory, we will be wisely sensitive to the needs of others, led by the Holy Spirit, because our focus isn’t distracted by our own self-protection.
I have recognized my distracted focus of not wanting to seem stupid or insensitive. Both prevent me from boldly obeying the Spirit’s leading. I’m afraid my stupidity will be revealed by saying something someone can dispute from Scripture or their own interpretation of truth. My old nemesis from childhood—don’t make anyone feel bad because then I’m bad—hampers me from having the freedom to respond however the Holy Spirit is leading me.
Yet, what is the truth? Paul states the truth earlier in this first letter to the Corinthians, But we have the mind of Christ (2:16).
The Corinthian believers must really be struggling with their image. Paul confronts those issues in so many ways. He also writes, For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (I Corinthians 2:2-5).
Paul seems to be saying, “I have known the fears of appearing weak and lacking wisdom just like you are experiencing. But my weaknesses mean you’ll rest in God’s power and not depend upon me being so wise.”
To some degree I’ve seen God newly empower my life with a bold sensitivity by being willing to sacrifice my own image or risk being misunderstood.
I remember one time specifically when I berated myself after seemingly giving all the wrong responses to a friend about God and his workings. I felt defeated and wondered whether I had destroyed any possibility of her responding to God’s love. But then God popped a great thought into my mind. “Well, if she becomes a Christian, it certainly won’t be because of my communication skills.”
Then, the truth hit me. If her conversion is not because of me, who is the cause? And who will get the glory since I don’t deserve it? Jesus and his Spirit. If I had been brilliant and my friend suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, you’ve made it so clear. I do want to become a Christian,” it would have been easy to give myself credit rather than the work of the Holy Spirit. But he is the one who calls her to salvation, it’s not about me at all. I’m just a weak and inadequate vessel.
Having purer motives for God’s glory doesn’t mean we don’t prepare as much as we can. It means we recognize that God is completely in charge of his glory.
This guest blog is adapted from Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory
- Book Title: Pure-Hearted: The Blessings of Living Out God’s Glory
- Book Publisher and Date: Elk Lake Publishing, December, 2017
- Book ISBN: 9781946638427
- Book Market Description: Challenges readers to inventory the heart with the goal of more closely reflecting God’s nature in our daily life while assuring us of God’s unwavering love and commitment to us.
Jennifer Kennedy Dean: You will find the secret to the communion for which your heart was formed.
Kathy Carlton Willis: Kathy Collard Miller identifies nine blessings that start with a transformed heart and end with God getting BIG glory. I can’t wait to gather a book club to discuss Kathy’s book.
Deb DeArmond: Tired of playing a role? Pure-Hearted will help you move into the authenticity that is Jesus.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathy Collard Miller is an award-winning author of over 50 books that include Christian living topics, women’s Bible studies, and Bible commentaries. She is a speaker who has shared in 8 foreign countries and over 30 US states. Kathy and Larry have been married for 47 years and are the parents of 2 and grandparents of 2. They live in Southern California and often write and speak together. Visit her at KathyCollardMiller.com. She would love to hear from you.