The A-Ha Of Ice Cream & Glory
We finally succumbed to the hedonistic ways of the heathen island dwellers. We gave in, and I must say it was marvelous. The experience was dripping with delight, while a handful of bashful onlookers could only blush with envy. I still display a devilish smile just thinking about it.
We shamelessly bowed at the shrine of Big Olaf. For my family, Big Olaf’s ice cream shop is worth the nine hour drive for it’s special brand of decadence. In 90 degree heat, our single dip cones lasted all of about 15 indulgent minutes. Afterwards, most of the family was caught doing that familiar, selfish dance called “I want more.”
Soaking in the dawn and an uncrowded coastline, it hit me this morning how selfishly indulgent theology can become. What’s designed to point us to God, can fall short and point only to ourselves, our knowledge, and perhaps our dripping rightness over other lesser people. Timothy Keller aptly muses that so many only want things from God and not God. Our motives, even when it comes to theology and God, can often point to merely “spending what we get on our own pleasures” (James 4:3).
With coffee, a Bible, and a prayer for God to speak, I was also prompted this morning about God’s glory. For some time, there’s been a dull something rattling around in my head about God’s glory. Why does God want glory, and why is His glory my purpose for being created? Does God’s Spirit live intensely envious inside of me because of the glory thing? David Platt and his book, Radical, gave me a glory morsel to chew on. Some wonder if God is an ego-maniac for wanting glory, but Platt quips that we need and want a glorified God. We need a God who gets the Glory. We want a God who is mighty to save and receives glory. I was somewhat content with that thought until today’s a-ha moment.
Timothy Keller eloquently writes (The Reason For God) about God’s glory in a way I’ve never heard. God, unlike any other god, has always operated in the wonderful, dancing community of the Trinity. The circling boogie between Father, Son, and Holy Spirit elicits submission, serving, and putting each other first. It’s in this incredible dance that joy lives and breathes. Infinite, eternal happiness is found at the center of this cosmic ballet, and it’s not through self-centeredness, but rather through a shared other-love. THIS is the glory of God! THIS is what makes the kavod (glory) of God heavy, significant, and weighty.
We are created to bring God glory. We are created to join the dance. God wants glory because we receive joy and eternal happiness in the deal. Now we see why God wants glory. He’s doing the dance with us! This is why we feel so much joy when we serve and give. This is why sacrificial people return from a mission trip to Kenya and believe they were the ones who benefitted the most. They had entered the Trinitarian dance, brought God glory, and found His joy. We were made to bring Him glory. We were made for the dance. God can’t wait for us to have His joy!
And God gives us grace every day to see and get this. The ocean separates the sky, the sky contrasts the sand, and the sand gives borders to the ocean. They serve each other and dance. A snare drum drives the guitars, the guitars give melody for the bass, and the bass gives punch back to the snare. The dance can be seen in our music. Are you seeing this? Atoms and molecules… a mother and her baby… planets and stars… and on it goes. Keller writes, “The love of the inner life of the Trinity is written all through it (universe). Creation is a dance!”
Wasn’t Jesus dancing with us as he came to earth to serve and die for us? And then he said, “I have given them the glory that You gave me.” He was dancing with us in the same way He had danced with the Father and Spirit. THIS is the glory of God.
This also explains my life when I’m focused on my own goodness or my finding my own path for salvation. My self-indulgent ways in the end, are dripping with frustration and leave me very discontent and poised to bust out the “I want more” dance at the shrine of Big Olaf.
Thanks, Timothy Keller. “The Reason For God” is a great read. It’s a new, fresh, practical apologetic unlike the standards that have been on my shelves for years. I finished Keller’s work today, and was left hungry for more. Considering my heavy hesitation in the first ten pages, how it all ended for me was very cool.
The weekend is here, and I will change my pace a bit for the family. I will sleep in. I will begin reading George W. Bush’s autobiography. I’m going to snorkel with Michael and Morgan. I love my study break. Thanks, God.