In recent months, I have become convinced that it is those with a passion for the glory of God that will change the world. Many of us want to change the world, to leave a mark on it in some way, whether that be through medical or technological advances, or social justice, or political change. But I think that those who want to change the world for Christ will only be able to do so if they value Him above all else. They will need a strong conviction that He alone is worthy of worship and praise and honor. They will give their lives away because they have a passion for the glory of God.
In the first part of this series, we’ll take a look at what it means to have a passion for the glory of God. We’ll take a look at the examples of godly men in Scripture, people who were faithful and devoted to God, and what their motives were. This will help us understand why they were so great, and how we can imitate them in their faiths. In the second part, we’ll take a look at how this passion should govern our thoughts and emotions. In the third and final installment, we’ll focus on how a passion for God’s glory should affect the way we live our lives, and how we interact with the world we live in and the people we come in contact with.
Let me say now that the language I use will be strong. This is intentional. I do not mean to use these words lightly or colloquially. I employ these words to their fullest extent. If there is a topic that deserves the service of strong language, it is a passion for the glory of God. I hope that as you are exposed to these words, you will inherit their forcefulness in thinking about a passion for God’s name.
What does it mean to have a passion for the glory of God? A passion for the glory of God means that we value His worth and worship above everything else. It means we refuse to allow anything to stand in the way of glorifying Him. It means that when we are faced with a choice between minimal glorification and maximal glorification, we choose the latter. A zealous, fervent, passion for God’s glory will consume us and leave us unable to pursue anything else. We will be convicted that He is worthy of our praise, and this will cause us to cast away everything–indeed, even our very lives. This is why I think those who change the world have an unmatched passion for Christ: they believe to their core that God deserves to be exalted, and this belief governs everything they do.
Moses was, quite possibly, the greatest prophet in Israel until Jesus. The author of the final verses of Deuteronomy wrote: “And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel” (Deut. 34:10-12). This man, so greatly used by God, was ruled by one desire. When Moses was on Mount Sinai receiving the law from God, he had the opportunity to request something from God. Moses asked God that he might see God’s ways and know Him. His plea was simple: “Please show me your glory” (Exodus 33:18).
David was called “a man after [God’s] own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). Like Moses, he is held in high regard in Hebrews 11 as a man who did incredible things for God’s name. And like Moses, David had one request: “One thing have I asked of the Lord, / that will I seek after: / that I may dwell in the house of the Lord / all the days of my life, / to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord / and to inquire in his temple” (Psalm 27:4); “So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory” (Psalm 63:2). David was a man determined to witness the beauty and power and glory of God every day of his life. This thought consumed him. It drove him. It was the reason for all that he did.
These men knew that God is a glorious God. They knew He deserved their lives, and moreover, they were overjoyed to spend it in His service. What sets men like Moses and David apart is their deep understanding that God deserves to be glorified. This understanding drove them to action. The prophet Jeremiah put it like this: “If I say, ‘I will not mention him, / or speak any more in his name,’ / there is in my heart as it were a burning fire / shut up in my bones, / and I am weary with holding it in, / and I cannot” (Jeremiah 20:9). This is the kind of fervor that comes with passion–we are bound by conviction to glorify the God who wholly deserves it. We cannot restrain ourselves from thinking and acting for God’s name, and it delights and satisfies us to do so.
Passion is where truth meets emotions meets action. We understand who God is, and that motivates us to glorify Him. We act on that motivation to see that God is glorified in our lives. People with a passion for the glory of God do not allow anything to stand in their way. They so desire to see God glorified that they will forego opportunities and sacrifice desires so that God might be proclaimed through their lives. People who are passionate for God’s glory want, more than anything else, to see Him worshipped in their lives. They will fight sin, knowing that sin is a sign that we value the devil’s lies more than we value God’s truths. They will love others and correct others, even when it is difficult or even painful, because such fellowship comes from God as its source. People with a passion for the glory of God want to see God lifted high in their lives, and they will do everything to see that become a reality.
How does one gain such a passion for God’s glory? Moses and David point to the answer: become familiar with who God is. Read Scripture for a revelation of God, and pray that through it He would show Himself in His fullness. Once we have beheld such beauty and power and glory, it will become impossible for us to be passionate about anything else. What else is worthy of our lives? What else is more deserving of our time and efforts? The truth of who God is will lead us to emotion and conviction that will drive us to pursue God’s glory above all else. I hope the same thing for you that I hope for myself: that we would have an increasing desire to see God glorified in our lives, and that it would become a consuming passion for us to value Him above all else.