Saturday, 8 March 2014

All the Glory of the World

“Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.  And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.” 

Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, “You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only you shall serve.” Matt. 4:8-9

I live in a house of hockey fans.  It seems to come naturally for most Canadians, this fancy for hockey, like it’s in our genes.  It’s cold here in winter – really cold.  We are not designed to hibernate (however, I could argue that I was knitted in the womb to do just that), and so we spend our winter days driving to every hockey rink within a 300 km radius, playing or watching hockey or building our outdoor rinks.  

And then, of course, there is Hockey Night in Canada – the gathering around the HD throne every Saturday night at 8:00 as faithful as saints going to Sunday worship.

My husband was a hockey player in his youth.  He later became a coach for our son’s hockey team.  My son has had a hockey stick in his hand since the age of two.  He’s almost 18 and still plays the sport he loves.

All that to say that I’m surrounded by hockey fans which means TSN is playing on our TV a lot; and so I pick up stuff going on in the hockey world.  Like who’s hot today.  Like who is trash today, but was hot yesterday.  Like how fickle the sports world is and how quickly a nobody can become a hero and a hero a nobody.

There is a goaltender for instance.  Last season he was the hometown hero.  Every time he moved, the 10,000 or so fans would yell his name in worship.  Reminded me of the prophets on the mountain trying to call down Baal; trying to make him something he is not – someone worthy of worship.  

This year is a new season and apparently he is trash, and has just been traded, according to the breakfast edition of TSN.  His applause has turned to jeering, his glory has faded.  

Baal never showed up.

My heart goes out to him.  He was once just a kid who loved to play hockey to spend away the cold Canadian winter.  Somewhere along the road Satan took him up on an exceedingly high mountain and offered him fame and fortune and praise and heroism, all the glory of the world. And he began to build a life on the sand, basking in the lime-light of the world’s praise, building up his life to impossible heights set by a disloyal fan base.
When we build of lives on such as this, a crash always comes.  Jesus said it like this,” a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell.  And great was its fall.”  Matt. 7:26-27

Such is the life built on the praise of man.  Man is fickle.  Merriam Webster defines fickle as: “changing often; marked by lack of steadfastness, constancy or stability; given to erratic changeableness”.  

It is easy to fall into the trap of enjoying that praise.  I've done it myself – not to the extent of a world famous hockey player, but degree doesn't matter, the sin is the same.  God hates pride and pride comes before a fall.  You know how it goes don’t you?  We do something well, get recognized for it.  It’s easy to fall into the trap of enjoying that praise, when you’re doing well according to their tastes.  All’s well and we are happy basking in this praise, the glory of the world.  Before too long, we mess up, or become a little more ordinary and we no longer get the glory.  And we crumble into a heap of emotional misery.  We've been taken to the mountain top, led by Satan, shown the glories and completely fallen for it.  And fall we did.  

By definition, fickle man’s expectation target is always moving and so it is impossible to live up to it.  Like the goaltender, one day we may be worshiped, the next day traded like a commodity. The problem is, we weren't designed to be worshiped.  We were designed to worship.

As I heard about this goaltender, my heart felt for him, and I was reminded of the Lord’s words:

“Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the mighty man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands Me, that I am the Lord, exercising lovingkindness, judgement and righteousness in the earth.  For in these I delight”, says the Lord.  Jer. 9:23-24

Glory: something that is a source of great pride; a state of gratification or exaltation; a height of prosperity or achievement. (Merriam Webster Dictionary.)
Believer, where is our source of great pride?  What is our height of prosperity or achievement? Is it what we have accomplished, how we have changed the world, or in our abilities? Let us glory in one thing only, that we know and understand the Lord, that He is the Lord and remember the grace and mercy with which He has redeemed us and keeps us.  And let us say with Jesus, when temptation for glorying in the praise of man comes, for it will surely come, “Away with you Satan, for it is written ‘You shall worship the Lord and serve only Him.’”

Unbeliever, are you weary of trusting in the fickle praise of man?  It’s tempting, I know.  I've been there.  It promises roses, but delivers thorns.  For the glory of man is but a breath, nothing more than a flower in the field, here today and gone tomorrow.  And you will disappear with it. But there is an eternal glory waiting for you, which does not perish or fade.  He sustains you now because He is patient.  He pursues you now because He created you and loves you. 

That void in your heart is the size of eternity and was designed for only one to fill it, like a missing piece of an incomplete puzzle.  

His name is Jesus Christ.  Turn to Him and stand on the rock.  He is the rock on which we must stand; the one who does not change like shifting shadows, like the fickle world, but is unconditionally steadfast and faithful. 

May we find our glory in Him. 
May we glory in Him.  
For that void in your heart will never be filled without Him.  


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