To God Be the Glory, By Femi Aribisala
Every creation of God declares the glory of God, except natural man and demons.
I was born into a Christian home and family. Nevertheless, all my life I had been fighting against the glory of God. Paul asks: “Who has resisted the will of God?”(Romans 9:19). I am ashamed to admit that I have. For 41 years of my life, I was determined, even if unwittingly, that God should not be glorified.
All my life up to that time, I had been dedicated and committed to my own glory. I went to school and proceeded all the way to earn a doctorate in the University for my own glory. I got a job for my own glory. I got married for my own glory. I had a child for my own glory. I dressed and walked and talked for my own glory. I was the centre of my universe.
But one fateful day, I met Jesus, and He gave me a new and different agenda. He said to me: “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). He also said: “Femi, whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17).
“But Lord Jesus,” I protested, “why won’t you allow me to do some things in my own name?
From Story to Glory
“The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.” (Psalm 19:1-3).
Man is the glory of God. God said: “It is not good for God to be alone.” So, he created man for himself. He says: “This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.” (Isaiah 43:21). But woman is the glory of man. God said: “It is not good for man to be alone.” So, he created woman for the man. Accordingly, Paul says: “A man indeed ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. (1 Corinthians 11:7).
King James says God created all things for His pleasure. (Revelation 4:11). So, how do you feel about being created for someone else’s pleasure? It is the stuff on which liberation movements are made. How do you feel about being an instrument or a conduit? Jesus says: “Out of your belly will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38).
But what about me? What is flowing to me?
The Lord is committed to extracting every ounce of his own glory from our lives. And Jesus rubbed salt into the wound by saying: “When you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants. We have done what was our duty to do.’” (Luke 17:10).
The whole earth is full of the glory of God. Everything that God created is designed to give glory to God. The psalmist says to God: “All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your saints shall bless You. They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, and talk of Your power.” (Psalm 145:10-11).
I repeat: Every creation of God declares the glory of God. However, there are two rebellious exceptions to this: man, and demons. Natural man fights against the glory of God. “Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, ‘Why have you made me like this?’” (Romans 9:20).
God says in Isaiah: “The beast of the field will honour Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I give waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My people, My chosen. This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise. But you have not called upon Me, O Jacob; and you have been weary of Me, O Israel.” (Isaiah 43:20-22).
But this is a losing battle, for nothing and no one can resist the will of God. If God says we shall declare His praise, we shall do so, whether we like it or not. Therefore, He says: “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” (Isaiah 42:8).
He also says: “I have sworn by Myself; the word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that to Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall take an oath. He shall say, ‘Surely in the Lord I have righteousness and strength. To Him men shall come, and all shall be ashamed who are incensed against Him. In the Lord all the descendants of Israel shall be justified, and shall glory.’” (Isaiah 45:23-25).
Because man in Adam has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, it became necessary for God to create an entirely new man in Christ to reveal his glory. The rest of creation has been waiting for this new man: “For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.” (Romans 8:19).
Thus, heaven is a place prepared for the new creation. It will comprise people who have every reason to glorify and praise God and who have every inclination to do so. You would not have to beg or persuade or cajole them to come to worship the Lord. They know that if it were not for the Lord who was on their side, they would be out in the cold.
They know that we are saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10).
Therefore, the psalmist expresses total commitment to the glory of God. He says: “Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but to Your name give glory, because of Your mercy, because of Your truth.” (Psalm 115:1). But can we say the same? Are we dedicated to the glory of God?
How often was it inconvenient for you to witness to somebody? How many times have you resisted God’s instruction because it was embarrassing, inconvenient, or (according to you) inappropriate? How often have you refused to the gentle promptings of the Lord to be gracious, to be merciful, and to be kind?
The devil has one singular objective: he does not want God to be glorified. But you and I must be determined that God must be glorified. So, at every opportunity, we must give glory to God. In every situation, we must be determined that God must be glorified.
We must not talk, walk, think, or act in a way that does not glorify God. In everything, the glory of God must be our watchword.
At the age of 41, the Lord God finally said this to me: “You are My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” (Isaiah 49:3).