Tuesday, December 5, 2017

"Not Unto Us!"

"Not Unto Us!"   

    I am presently reading a book of eulogies by an author who wrote literally hundreds of them for a magazine during his career.  Most of the subjects were people of fame and power, from presidents to business tycoons, actors, musicians, journalists, and fellow authors.  The volume offers an interesting historical remembrance of the 20th century and some of its influences and characters.

   Of one such well known figure, the author writes, "He was unique in his search for notoriety."  Upon reading this assessment, I shuddered (not a response the author of the eulogy intended, I am sure, since he was quite famous himself).  I cannot imagine such a quest embraced as a life goal, which reminds me of the statement made by one who intentionally found fame, but then quickly wished he could give it back: "I wanted to be famous. Until 5 minutes after it happened."  Certainly many who become well known enjoy their name in lights, but we all know the spiritual, moral, emotional, and even physical ruin that plagues so many who seek popularity and prominence.  There is, of course, a reason for this destructive pathology.

   "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord… Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory!" (I Corinthians 10:31; Psalm 115:1).

   God made the human heart for the purpose of honoring His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Accordingly, peace can only be experienced as we devote ourselves to the only fame that illuminates rather than darkens our hearts.  His fame.  Any other quest for notoriety reveals that one either does not well know the Lord Jesus - if at all - and also that one does possess adequate self knowledge.  It actually takes little of either awareness to cure us of any search for the vanity of personal fame.  Indeed, when we realize our Lord's goodness and greatness, we discover our own lack of such merit and ability.  This elicits the intense desire to lovingly honor Him, while also acknowledging that no one can deserve accolade whose sins were responsible for the suffering and death of the innocent Lamb of God.  This includes us all.  "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (I John 2:2).

   The heart illuminated by the glory of Christ seeks to join the Psalmist in his heartfelt cry of directing attention unto the Lord and away from itself: "Not unto us, o Lord… but unto Thy name give glory!"  The aforementioned luminary who so avidly sought notoriety lived and died in a bitterness of soul to be expected in those who fail to realize the worthiness of Christ, and the unworthiness of those whose sins led to the Lord's sacrifice.  The sad man's heart was not made for fame.  Thus, he experienced the consequences of embracing Satan's deception because the quest for fame ushers the deceived into a journey through devilish darkness for which we are ill-prepared to navigate.  "Not unto us, o Lord, not unto us!"

"Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men."
(Matthew 6:2)

Weekly Memory Verse
    I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him.
(Ecclesiastes 3:14)

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