Why Pray? 6: To be glorified

“We pray this so that the name of the Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thessalonians 1:12)

We are here to glorify God. Hopefully we have a good handle on that, but did you know that God wants us to be glorified in Him also?

In the previous verses Paul thanked God for the Thessalonians’ perseverance and reminded them of God’s ultimate vindication of his people. That prompted Paul’s prayer that they live lives worthy of their calling, in part so that they would be glorified in God.

And this is not some isolated idea. For example Paul gives our share in the glory of Christ as one of the reasons for our salvation (2 Thess2:14) and speaks to the Romans of sharing in Jesus’ glory (8:17-18). It is the destiny of every Christian (Romans 8:30). To hear some preachers today you might even think that our glory was the main thing God was working for in our lives, and we should work towards it. It becomes a quasi spiritual version of respect with the goal of our self-esteem and popularity, as if God was concerned to make us more attractive, even though his own son was “Like one from whom men hide their faces…” (Isaiah 53:3).

On the contrary, our pursuit of our glory is one of the biggest ways to ensure it will never happen. Like someone running after a butterfly in hopes it will sit on their shoulder, glory will only be given to those who don’t seek it. It is God’s will that each day of our lives we become more like Jesus. That every morning our increased likeness to the creator of the universe – our Saviour – would bring us glory. And that glory – our glory – is Christ’s; in our becoming more like him through the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives (2 Cor 3:18).

The way the moon plays across a harbour is a spell-binding sight and yet the glory of the moon is that through it we see something of the sun. It provides us with light only when it reflects onto us a brightness it can never have on its own. That dull-coloured lump of rock shows us the greatness, power and use of the sun – and that’s no mean thing for a dull-coloured lump of rock!

We are but jars of clay; flawed, sinful, created beings. Despite this God in his grace has granted us increasing glory in our transformation into his own likeness. In that process us we have the joy of helping others to see Jesus through our likeness to him in our lives and words. Until that day when we “will appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4).

And that’s no mean thing for a jar of clay.

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