His Without Reserve

 The most powerful example of a person who carried out the will of our heavenly Father is Jesus. During His earthly ministry He demonstrated an unbending purpose to accomplish the work that His Father and He had laid out for Him. We gather indications of this dedication, this holiness, as we read the story of His life.

"In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed" (Mark 1:35). When the disciples found Him, He explained that the reason He came out to a quiet place to pray was that they were now going to the next towns to preach.

On another occasion, when His disciples returned to Jacob's well from town with food for Him to eat, He said, to their wonderment: "'My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work'" (John 4:34).

As He prepared to heal a man who was born blind, He explained: "'We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work'" (John 9:4).

Finally, just shortly before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, He prayed with confidence: "'I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.'" (John 17:4, 5).

Because of His complete consecration, Jesus glorified His Father in all that He did. Although He knew our human imperfections and weaknesses, He promised that we, His disciples, His holy ones, would carry forward His work of reconciling men and women to God. In following His example, we too would glorify our Father. "'Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son'" (John 14:12, 13).

This Scripture reveals that our obedience to the will of God, that is, our carrying forward the work He has given us to do, is backed by Christ's promise. He will support our efforts by providing whatever we ask in His name. The reason for His support is obvious. Our spiritual work, carried out under the authority of His will, has His full support because it glorifies the Father "in the Son."

When we choose to enthrone our Lord and Savior in the sanctuary of our soul, we are engaged in fulfilling His will for us, and we are prepared to do His will in all things. Let's look at this transaction of grace from our Father's point of view. In addition to telling us to give the good news of salvation to the world, He has requested that we allow Him to work in us for His good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). Paul wrote that this work has amazing possibilities, as we have seen: "You may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:19). When this divine transaction occurs in even a single life, God sees that His will, His hopes, His plans are being fulfilled. We are glorifying Him.

He wants us to choose, day by day and hour by hour, to be fully devoted to Him. Having this attitude, we may rightly say, "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me" (Gal. 2:19, 20).

Christ Dwells in Our Hearts

What does "It is Christ who lives in me" mean? And what did Paul mean in his prayer for the Ephesians: "I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love" (Eph. 3:16. 17). Here is what's happening when Christ "dwells" in our hearts through faith?

We are emptying self to be filled with Christ.

We are reading off the same page with Christ:

to provide salvation for those who believe in Him.

to demonstrate what our heavenly Father is really like.

to provide means for restoring in mankind the image of their Maker.

We are displaying His character traits in our daily lives.

We are doing all to the glory of God.

"As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him" (Col. 2:6). What a magnificent choice we have made. We gain the wisdom and guidance of a Divine Companion, the Holy Spirit. We learn how to walk in step with Him. And, best of all, we bring glory to our Father!

We aren't long in our experience of holiness before we realize that relinquishing self has been well worth it. We are blessed with joy, with spiritual strength, and with peace. But above all, we have the gratifying pleasure of glorifying our dear Father just as Jesus did!

What Is Glory?

When we say that we glorify our Father, what do we mean? What is "glory"?

Often Bible writers use "glory" to describe attention-getting brilliance or startlingly attractive appearance. For Moses and the children of Israel, the glory of the Lord, as recorded in Exodus, was a physical, visual experience with lightning or fire.

Yet His glory was more than what the eye beheld or the ear heard. When Moses said, "'Show me your glory,'" God replied, "'I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you the name, "The Lord"'" (Ex. 33:18, 19). The Lord didn't say, I will show you my glory. He said, I will show you My goodness, and I will proclaim My name. On that occasion "glory" meant the character trait of goodness, as well as what His character reveals when His name is spoken.

When Jesus said that He had glorified His Father, He was saying that He brought the Father's true character to light. Our Father's reputation had been distorted. He was seen as an exacting taskmaster, not a loving Parent. Christ corrected the people's view of Him. Our Father's glory, then, means His excellency, esteem, honor, reputation. "Not least of God's glory is what his rational creatures think of him, and the estimation, repute, and honor which they accord him. . . . [Paul] praised God by living a life that caused others to form right ideas about him and accept Christ for themselves." (1)

What Happens When I Glorify God?

Today, as in Jesus' day, God is grossly misunderstood by millions of Christians and by non-Christians who know God the Creator only by what they see in Christians. If God were to appear at the centers of commerce and government or in an alleyway of a small town, He would not be recognized. His appearance and behavior would not be what millions expect because they have not been shown what He is truly like.

Remember that the rebellion of Lucifer introduced uncertainty about God throughout creation. In our dedication, in our selflessness, in our devotion to the principles of God's kingdom, we are able to witness for Him in an amazing way. When our thoughts and attitudes are patterned after the thoughts and attitudes of our Savior, we are able to speak His words and do His deeds of love. We display evidence that we have been transformed by the renewal of our minds. In other words, we demonstrate, as nothing else can, that God's government is just, that His mercy is founded in selfless love, and that He is worthy of praise and honor and allegiance. Upon seeing us day after day, our neighbors should never again be uncertain about what God is like.

We're validating His plan of redemption.

We're displaying His characteristics through the power of Christ.

We're enlarging His territory.

We're enhancing His reputation.

This is glorifying God.

God's glory is His ability to deliver us from ruin, His readiness to respond to our needs, and His implanting His nature within us. His glory is His territory, His power, He wisdom, and His generosity. In the ways in which He has shared His work of redemption with us, His glory is His reputation.

He has placed His reputation in my hands and yours. If in our weaknesses and failures we do not display His characteristics, we diminish His reputation in the eyes of anyone who sees. In our strengths and successes in portraying Christ's character, we enhance His reputation. We glorify Him.

We Are Called to Magnify Our Creator

God's love led Him to give what is best for us-redemption-regardless of the cost to Himself. We give Him an abiding place in our throne room because we know that this is what is best for Him-best for Him regardless of the cost to ourselves. Giving like that is love, divine love, in our human hearts. "Love as I love," He says.

To exercise this unspeakably marvelous privilege, we are called to holiness. For this we deny self and exalt Christ. For this we present our bodies and minds as living sacrifices to Him. For this-for "the praise of His glory"-we demonstrate that we are learning to love as He loves.

Our Prayer

My Father in heaven, Your name be praised. You have given me "righteousness and sanctification and redemption" through Jesus Christ, whom I worship and adore. You have offered to reproduce the character of Christ in my inner temple so I may work for You in the ministry of reconciliation. As I learn to do the work You have given me, I do so to enlarge Your territory and thus to glorify You. May Your reputation be enhanced because I have chosen to be a holy vessel for your truth and love. I exalt You in the name of Jesus, who dwells in my heart by faith. Amen.