The Pursuit of Glory: How it Leaves us Restless

AugustineI have been chasing it all my life, and though I think it will give me rest, it is exhausting. Every little taste of victory spurs me on to an even greater effort, but at the same time, I find myself more depleted. The combination of delight and disappointment only fosters greater desperation.

It is a pursuit, and we are all in it. We call it by different names, but we are all pursuing the same thing. Some have called it significance, legacy, attractiveness, power, and distinction, but in the end, we are seeking honor and triumph, or in another word, glory.

Often I am blind to it, but there signals throughout my day that indicate that I am invested. Thoughts like, “I wish I looked as good as they do, why do they get all of the attention,” or the ever deceptive, “I’m special because my life does not revolve around all of those things,” all serve as a barometer of my desire for glory. It is usually mixed with a desire for security as well. As I am pursuing glory, I’m also running from the fear of death. I want greatness and grandeur because somehow I believe they will offer me protection. Like a drug, the highs are powerful, the let downs distressing, and it all fuels the fire. Until I find it, there will be no rest.

We were made to pursue glory by a glorious God. The problem is we have a natural propensity to exchange the glory of everlasting God for created things, but the things of earth can never give us what we are seeking. No matter how fast I run, how high I climb, or how many accolades the world gives me, it is not enough.  Even then I continue in the race to see if I can find something else in this world that can lift my head, and I always seem to find something; temporarily.

There is only one who can give us what we are seeking, and that is the Lord of Glory Himself. Our glory and security are found in Him, and until our pursuit turns from the things of the world to the eternal God, we have nothing to expect except disillusionment. In Christ, though, it all comes together. Our sins have been forgiven, which causes death to lose its sting, and no matter how insignificant the world thinks we are, when Christ, who is our life, appears, then we also will appear with Him in glory (Col. 3:4). He is our honor and triumph.

Influence, affluence, legacy; none of these things are wrong in themselves. They can even be used to bring God glory, but when we put them in the place of God, they will fail to deliver. It is time to stop seeking from the world what only God can give. There may be times when the things of this world will cause you to hold your head up high, but only briefly for it is all passing away. Your glory and protection are not found in your attractiveness, your talents, your bank book, your health, or even your legacy. Your glory is found in Christ, and so is your rest.

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. -Psalm 3:3

D. Eaton

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When Pressing On Means Giving Up

I could hear the voices whispering, “Persevere, Don’t give up, You need to press on.” The only problem was I was fairly certain these were the voices of the enemy. I was torn because persistence is something to honor. A sense of despondency and joy burned within me at the thought of giving up several lifelong pursuits.

I knew it was the right thing to do. I needed to say goodbye to what I loved, because what I loved was toxic. It was like a destructive friendship. Friendships are to be cherished, and it always seems wrong to dissolve them, but when they are harmful, the appropriate thing to do is to bring them to an end.

I realized I had a long and unhealthy relationship with the world.  I loved it and was attempting to stake my claim and find my refuge in its kingdom. The revelation that these dark skies have open to me is that the things of the world can neither protect nor satisfy.

Faith has been awakened, and it is pointing my mind to things above.  I know at this point the way to press on is to bring all these worldly pursuits to a close.  I must say goodbye to these lifelong loves, and deep inside I can feel the heartache that will ensue. If left to myself, I will not have the strength to do it.  I will run back into their arms like a lonely man returning to an abusive lover.

I will persevere though, not because I have it in me, but because I am starting to realize that true perseverance in the things of God is not of myself.  I am, as Peter once said, being kept by the power of God through faith.  Christ Jesus has begun a work He has promised to complete. I know my old nature will not give up easily, and it may win a few battles as I am being conformed to His image, but I will press on, because He has promised to never lose His child.

Do not love the world or the things in the world. – 1 John 2:15

D. Eaton