While perusing my social media account recently I stumbled across a friend’s post that made me pause… the caption on the picture indicated that he had been rummaging through a jewelry store with his wife when he came across this necklace (left). The “Your Photo Here” seemed a little strange to him… and I have to agree… how odd… I mean, who would purchase a piece of jewelry with the face of Jesus and then cover it up with their own picture?But the more I thought about it the more I realized that perhaps this is a startling, if unintended, depiction of exactly what’s wrong with a lot of the church today. That is, while we may say that we want to be a part of God’s plan on the earth, in the deep recesses of our hearts, we secretly desire to paste ourselves in the picture, taking credit for advances in the gospel, thereby grabbing at least a share of the glory and credit that belongs only to Jesus.
I am the Lord; that is my name;
my glory I give to no other… Isaiah 42:8
Colossians 1:16-17 says “by (Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Paul reminds us that …all things… …in all times… …in all places… have their origin and purpose rooted in God Himself. The natural outgrowth of that truth should manifest itself in humble worship. But we must not fool ourselves to think we are beyond “glory grasping.” Even committed believers have to guard against the fleshly desire within us to usurp the rightful place of God, thus elevating ourselves, and diminishing Him.
This attitude is essentially what got humanity in trouble way back in the Garden of Eden. On that infamous day at the beginning of time, the disguised enemy slipped up beside Eve and tempted her with the delicious opportunity to be “like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:5) And in the next verse, we find that she got exactly what she desired. Eve did know evil… specifically, the evil of self-idolatry and then later rightly received the consequences of disobedience and of desiring to exalt herself to a place above to her Creator.
This is why in the book of Exodus, God put a warning against worshiping other gods at number two on His Top Ten List. He wanted (and still wants) us to be careful about where we place our affections because He is the only One truly worthy of our adoration.
While it’s good and right for believers in Jesus to want to serve the Lord and do His will, we need to be ever mindful not to cross the line of thinking about polishing our own frame instead of making Him shine.