During the Old Testament times, Israel had caused such embarrassment to God that He allowed them to be captured and dispersed in shame throughout the Middle East, primarily to “vindicate the holiness of [His] great name which has been profaned among the nations, which [the Israelites had] profaned in their midst. Then the nations [would] know that [He is] the Lord” (Ezek 36:23).
The word glory is a translation of the Hebrew word kabod, which means something is “impressive, weighty, or radiant with splendor.” This is God’s intent. The concepts of honor and shame were important in Roman culture; the Romans loved honor and despised shame.
Yet the church is challenged to see the world in a different light: we are to “[look] unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). He accepted shame as a part of God’s purpose.
To follow Christ’s example means to be willing to be ridiculed, despised, and rejected for how we live and what we believe without yielding to pressure from our culture.
The key to Christ’s method of glorifying God is seen in John 17:4 on the eve of His crucifixion: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”
Ours is a life of purpose and submission to accomplish Someone else’s agenda and to bring renown to Another instead of to ourselves. “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Col 3:17), not to build up your name, fame, or respect, but rather to build His honor and reputation.
In this context, we should glorify God by what we allow ourselves to “eat or drink”: we should be willing to give up our rights to any questionable food when it makes a difference in our ministry, even though we have the biblical right to consume it. God is glorified by our humility and submission to the preferences of others.
Paul wrote, “You were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor 6:20). If God is glorified by my willingness to give up my rights, then I must consider it a privilege to do so, especially if it encourages someone to keep walking with Christ and learning from His word. What have you given up for Christ?
“Dear Lord, it is my privilege to relinquish my rights in order to accomplish the Your tasks for me on this earth. Help me to honor You by being willing to suffer the shame associated with Your death on the cross.”
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