Wednesday, August 17, 2016

"Maybe it IS About Me"

Galatians 1.24 NASU

“And they were glorifying God because of me.”

That’s a gutsy claim, almost audacious. Paul attributed the worship of God by believers in new churches around Syria and Cilicia to himself! The elevation of self goes against popular teaching in Reformed and Evangelical circles. Paul’s claim does not sit well with “such a worm as I” [1] or “wretch like me” [2]. Would the Apostle gain acceptance in our modern churches? Or, would he be tossed out on his unbiblical, egotistical, and self-elevating ear?

“And they were glorifying God because of me.”

We may secretly wish for credit and even believe we deserve some, but we would not admit it publicly as did Paul. Would you dare to come clean with the thought that you think you are the reason for something good in the world? Our version of Galatians 1.24 reads this way:

“And they were glorifying God [because of Jesus, or because of God,
or because of the pastor, or because of the beauty of nature, or] because
of [anyone or anything else BUT] me [because as everyone knows...
it’s not about me. And oh, by the way, aren’t I humble?].”

Paul’s words fly in the face of the popular little mantra “It’s not about me.” Apparently Paul thought (on this particular point) that it certainly was about him.

“And they were glorifying God because of me.”

It’s hard to imagine that somebody could actually glorify God… “because of me”! But if I refuse to believe in the possibility, I effectively reduce the power of God to nice sounding platitudes. I limit God in me.

Try saying Galatians 1.24 in a mirror. Make this your memory verse for the day. Say it to a friend without flinching, or offering commentary, explanation, or qualifying remarks. “And they were glorifying God because of me.” Force yourself to repeat and mean it. It’s not easy, is it?

Lest you think this is an obscure passage without direct application and relegate Paul’s statement to ‘true for him but not for me,’ consider these words from the greatest sermon ever preached:

“You are the light of the world… Let your light shine
before men in such a way that they may see your good
works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Jesus, Matthew 5.14a, 16

Apparently, on some level and in some mysterious way, ‘It IS about me.’ Would I act differently if I truly believed that?
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[1] "Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed", Isaac Watts, 1674-1748.

[2] "Amazing Grace", John Newton, 1725–1807.

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