“I am the LORD; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.” Isaiah 42:8
During the time of the Protestant Reformation, the term soli Deo gloria, or “glory to God alone,” was used to summarize one of the core doctrines of Protestant Christianity. It means that the sovereign God of the universe alone gets glory, and as God says in this passage from Isaiah, “My glory I give to no other.”
God saved me when I was an arrogant and independent 16-year-old boy. I thought that the best way to show that Christ had saved me and transformed my heart was to show the world how put together I was, how I could weather any storm, untouched by the trial.
This set in to practice a long history putting on a façade, this false front of serenity and perfection, in order to “honor Jesus.”
But beneath the surface of my genuine desire to show others that God had saved me was another desire—one that aimed to bring glory to myself.
The truth of the matter is that the faith I had was not completely in God, but it also rested in my perception and depiction of myself.
In addition to shifting the focus of my faith from God’s work in me to my own work, I tried to pretend that I had it all together and minimized how God could be glorified in my weakness.
When I read the verse above in Isaiah, God showed me that I was a thief; he showed me that I had been stealing the glory that was rightfully due to him alone.
God uses our strengths and our weaknesses to bring glory to his name. Doing everything to the glory of God means that it is no longer about us, but rather, God is glorious both in us and sometimes in spite of us.
After surrendering my foolish pride, embracing this truth has brought my soul great comfort, peace, and joy.
James Rose is a pastor at the Ballard church.