I made a promise to tell you about the times God spoke to me in an audible voice, an experience that is both peaceful and somewhat unsettling at the same time. This is the third and final in this series all though that could change someday if God so chooses. Previous posts: Do Not Make Me Tell You Twice and Look Back to Look Forward.
God will communicate in the way that best accomplishes His perfect agenda.
It’s not that God has only communicated with me in an audible voice. If this was true it would mean that God has only communicated with me three times in fifty years! It would also be a mistake to assume that when God spoke audibly it was always about my journey. I learned this when God spoke to me in an audible voice for the third time.
“Stop stealing my glory.”
Imagine praying on a weekday morning in an empty church and hearing these words. I don’t know how you would respond but my first words were, “who me?” followed by, “when, how, I don’t understand, I don’t think I am doing this?” It’s not that I am incapable of being proud. I cannot say, without lying, that I have never seen God accomplish things and forgotten to thank Him or give Him the proper due. Still I found myself asking this because as far as I could tell, this was not my regular practice. Boy am I glad I asked!
“Not you” He answered.
It was a relief to hear that God wasn’t talking about me and yet it was a little confusing. If this wasn’t direction that I could apply to a current situation in my walk, why tell me?
Acts 8:9-24 is the story of Simon the Sorcerer.
Simon offered money so that he could have the ability to “give” the power of the Holy Spirit by laying hands on people. This was not a request to make God known through this miraculous act, it was Simon wanting to be seen by others as powerful, he wanted to look good.
Acts 19:11-16 is the story of copycats.
There was a group of people who went around casing out demons invoking the name of Jesus and of Paul. One day they told the demon to leave in the name of Jesus and Paul. The demon replied “Jesus I know and I know about Paul, but who are you?” The demon beat them up and they ran naked out of the house. Their actions were driven by the desire to be a part of something that they didn’t embrace. They wanted to fit in so they copied without commitment.
Acts 5:1-10 the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
Ananias and Sapphira had a plan to sell their property and share the money with the other believers as many were doing. The difference between them and the others was they decided to only give part of the money but claim that they gave it all. They wanted to gain respect for themselves for being totally sold out followers of Christ while really being totally sold out on position and praise. This wasn’t about surrender to the call of the Creator but about personal gain.
Acts 3:11-12 the story of assigning glory to people.
Peter and John through the power of God healed a crippled beggar outside the temple. Once people saw what they had done they looked up to them as if they were the ones who healed. These people began to look at Peter and John as if they were necessary in the healing process. Their faith was placed either in Peter and John or through Peter and John elevating them rather than God.
How does this apply to 2017? How does this apply to us?
For most people it is not a planned deception or a deep rooted desire to be glorified instead of God, it just happens.
We all want to look good. We may give God the glory for our special talents but when we use them our motivation is often more about being seen because it makes us feel good. Stop stealing His Glory.
We all want to fit in. Maybe we attend a small group or prayer meetings, we volunteer at an event or donate to a cause. We don’t do it because of our faith, we do it to be a part of the group. Stop stealing His glory.
We all want to be looked up to. This isn’t about looking good but about being important. Maybe we are on the board or in charge of a ministry; it is easy to be sold on the position but not on the workload because we are there for power not service. Stop stealing His glory.
We all need someone to help us follow Christ. As a pastor, an actor and worship leader, I get the opportunity to help people grow closer to God through presentations and through mentorship. It is easy for me and anyone else who plays an important role in someone’s faith journey to become the focus and even a necessary part of their relationship with God. Stop stealing His glory.
“Stop Stealing My Glory” is the last sermon I preach when I complete my ministry at each church.
It is important to remind people to question why they do what they do and who their faith is placed in or through so that no one steals the glory meant for God.
Chances are I will never preach at your church but you can still ask yourself why you do what you do and who your faith is placed in or through so that no one steals the glory meant for God.