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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Our church recently hosted a conference called “Glory and Grace.” The entire three day event was focused on exploring and extolling these two extremely important attributes of God’s nature.

I am struck by how significantly both glory and grace also affect marriages. In this post and my next one I will talk about glory. I’ll follow that up with a post about grace.

It may seem awkward to talk about glory as it relates to marriage. But once you understand what glory is, it may not be quite so much so.

You see, God’s glory is simply his very nature. It’s his essence, the “ness” of God: His awesomeness, His loveliness, His powerfulness, His brilliance, His unfailing love and grace.

We are Made for Glory

As Christ followers, we are in essence carriers of His glory. It amazes me that God chose to put this kind of treasure into the likes of you and me, but that’s how it is.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.
1 Cor 4:6-7
We are made for glory. We are made to reflect the Lord’s glory in ever-increasing measure (2 Cor 3:18). This is our inheritance in Jesus.

I led worship at our church last Sunday and closed with the song “We are an Ark.” It proclaims the truth that we are made to be glory-carriers.

If you have a few minutes close your eyes and give a listen. Let the truth of this reality sink deeply into your soul.

Direct YouTube Link

I love how the song ends by switching from "I am and ark" to "We are an ark." This is both a personal and corporate truth. The "we" truth also applies your marriage.

Your Marriage is Made for Glory

By extension, your marriage is also made for glory.

Two believers joined together in the covenant of marriage cannot help but be a mutual “ark” for the glory of God.

God made marriage to be a reflection of his selfless and eternal love for us. The marriage covenant is a direct parallel of the new covenant. God sent his Son, Jesus, to the earth as our Bridegroom, to win us as His bride forever. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again now.
People should get saved in response to looking at the beauty (glory) of the marriages in the church.
I believe that’s possible. I believe that’s how it was made to be. Marriages, full to overflowing with God’s glory!

Shame, the Opposite of Glory

So what’s the deal? Why aren’t people seeing the glory of God and getting saved by observing the marriages in the church?

I think it‘s at least partly because many marriages, and the people in them, aren’t walking in the glory for which they were intended. I say that not as condemnation or judgment, but to encourage you with the truth that glory is your right and the right of your marriage. Access to the glory was purchased for us by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross! It’s bought and paid for!

And for those whose marriages are walking in a measure of glory, let me assure you there is always more – much more.

I think a lot of what holds us back from experiencing glory in marriage has to do with shame. Shame is the opposite of glory. Glory brings light and freedom and peace. Shame brings darkness and bondage and strife. I think a lot of marriages are trapped in shame, and the enemy keeps us there by fooling us into thinking that’s all there is. But that’s a lie! (I have a series on shame that digs more deeply into the shame issue than I can in this context.)

Shame is not our inheritance in Jesus, glory is.

Embracing Glory

How do we get out of the trap of shame? The short answer is found in the scripture I quoted above. The knowledge of the glory of God is found in the face of Jesus. To live in the glory, we have to first know the glory. We have an open invitation to passionately and boldly pursue the intimate, experiential knowledge of God’s nature and glory.

The highest goal in our spiritual walk should be to know Him more.

Ask God to show you His glory. If you don’t know where to start, use the prayers of the Apostle Paul found in Ephesians 1:15-23, that the eyes of your heart be opened to who God is, with wisdom and revelation. Or use Ephesians 3:16-21, and ask for a deeper understanding of the immeasurable love of Christ. Worship is also a fantastic way to become more deeply infused with the glory of God.  

As we begin to see and know the glory of God, the next step is to embrace it in your life and your marriage. Here a just a few examples of where you can apply the glory of God to your marriage:
  • Believe that the power that raised Christ from the dead also fills your marriage. God has the power to do exceedingly abundantly above all we ask or think. That’s a lot of power!
  • Believe that the peace of Christ that calmed the stormy seas can calm the storms in your marriage.
  • Believe that the same love of Christ that fills us with the fullness of God is available for your marriage.
  • Believe that in Christ, we have freedom from shame and from the lies of the enemy that want to keep us trapped there.
The applications of the glory of God are truly limitless!!  Because God is limitless. There is so much hope and power in this truth. 

What aspects of the glory of God would you like to see applied to your own marriage? Pursue it! Get to know it! Believe it! Go for it! It’s yours!


Bruce van Zyl said...

Definitely agree!

Thanks for taking time to discuss grace and glory in the context of marriage. I'm sure there is enough on this topic to write a book!

Scott said...

Thanks, Bruce! You are so right - this is a vast topic. I had a hard time whittling it down to a few posts. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

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