Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will be seen upon you. Isaiah 60:1-2
Glory. It’s one of those words we talk about in church but don’t fully understand. In our human experience, glory represents fame and importance. Renown. And we spend much of our time on this earth fighting for glory that belongs to God.
But glory comprises more than honor and distinction. It also reveals itself through magnificent, radiant beauty. Like the glory revealed in creation, or the dazzling, pure light emanating from our Creator Himself.
Renown. Magnificence. Radiant beauty. Glory.
So what do you think God means when He declares,
“…bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:6b-7
In these verses, God issues a call to gather His children—every individual who bears His Name. He reveals His purpose in verse 7: whom I created for my glory.
God formed you, beloved—knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13)—with a singular purpose, one the enemy of our souls works diligently to keep hidden. God created you for glory.
I imagine you’ve felt the longing for significance common to all mankind. We desire purpose. We want to be valued, to feel important. We long to be seen and understood. Whether we willingly admit it or not, our hearts long for glory.
And scripture is clear. God created you for glory. But not your glory, dear one. His. God created you to be a dwelling place for His glory.
Consider Jesus’ prayer to His Father right before His arrest and death on a cross.
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one.” John 17:22
Beloved, Jesus has shared His glory with you. The same glory that the Father bestowed on Christ, He gave to us.
Hebrews 1:3 describes Jesus’ glory.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power.
Child of God, the radiance of God’s glory—the exact imprint of His nature—now dwells within you. Jesus gave it to you when you put your faith in Him. God has given you His own glory, so that you can reveal who He is.
But look at what Jesus linked to that glory: Unity.
“The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” John 17:22-23
I wonder if you caught the significance of verse 23. God gave us His glory, “… that they may become perfectly one.”
Perfect unity seems an impossible goal. I guess it’s a good thing God specializes in making impossible things possible (Matthew 19:26).
I’m going to take Jesus’ words a step further. Perfect unity within the body of Christ isn’t just possible. It’s inevitable. Why? Because Jesus always prays according to the Father’s will, so He always gets what He asks for. Christ’s church will rise in perfect unity before the end, revealing the glory Jesus gave us. The only question remaining is which generation of believers will experience that promise.
I know one thing. God’s glory won’t become evident while believers seek their own. The world will see it as individuals embrace their true purpose and commit their lives to God’s. We must stop seeking to position ourselves in prominent places and allow Jesus to position us in the place He chose for us.
Beloved, the church is God’s present dwelling place on earth,
… built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:20-22
Scripture teaches that, “…your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you…” (1 Corinthians 6:19). But I need you to notice something. God’s house grows into a holy temple as it’s joined together. Each person carrying the Spirit is merely a piece of the greater structure. When we allow the Spirit to build us together into God’s dwelling place, glory will fill the temple.
Look what happened when God’s last earthly house was completed.
As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord on the temple, they bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 2 Chronicles 7:1-3
When glory filled the temple, the people watching knew two things.
God is here.
Jesus’ prayer in Gethsemane echoes that result, “that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
You were made for glory, beloved. God has given you His glory through your faith in His Son. Now He wants to position you in your place in His house, connected to and supporting other believers on every side. When He finishes building, His glory will once again fill His earthly temple.
And the world will know that He is God.