Last week I wrote an Article arguing that all human beings are glory junkies. In other words, we’re addicted to pursuing, and basking in, our own glory. I gave three signs that reveal this addiction: we parade our righteousness, we talk too much, and we have a sense of self-importance.
Today I want to extend that diagnostic list to press home the point that you’re addicted to your own glory, not in a way that discourages you, but in a way that encourages you to seek the rescuing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
5 More Signs
Before I begin, remember what I said last week: I write these posts not as a doctor looking down, but as an addict myself. I wish I could say I'm a recovering addict, but in many ways, I'm grieved to admit that all these diagnostic signs are still somewhat visible in my life today.
4. Glory Junkies Care Too Much
When you think you're someone special, you need people to recognize and reaffirm that you’re special. Naturally, you’ll develop an awareness of how others respond to you. Now hyper-vigilant to the words and actions of those around you, it becomes extremely difficult to make a selfless, objective decision. Your choices are driven by how you think you’ll be perceived, rather than how others will be served. Ask yourself – is this action motivated by the eternal glory of God or by the temporary praise of men?
5. Glory Junkies Care Too Little
At the same time, if you’re so self-assured in who you are, you become convinced that you simply don't need others to evaluate your ideas, motivations, attitudes, and outcomes. You do alone what should be done in a group, and if you do choose to work with a group, you’re more than likely surrounded by people all too impressed with you, all too excited to be included by you, and who find it hard to say anything but "yes" to you. Ask yourself – how can the body of Christ help me see what I can’t see on my own?
6. Glory Junkies Are Defensive
See if you can picture yourself in a similar scenario like this one: Do you get tense when confronted? Do you find evidence to destroy or weaken the accusation? Do you remind the accuser that they, too, have a track record of failure? We do these things because we’re glory junkies; proud people don't welcome warning, rebuke, confrontation, criticism, or accountability. Ask yourself – when someone points out my sin or failure, what’s my immediate response?
7. Glory Junkies Are Envious
One of the most honest quotes in the Bible comes from Asaph, when he cries out in envy, "Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?" (Psalm 73:13, NLT) Asaph looks at his situation and views himself as the most deserving, and when he doesn't get what he thinks he deserves, he lashes out in bitterness towards God. You and I are very similar. Because we're consumed with our own glory, we automatically think we're owed more than what we've been given. Ask yourself - do I get angry and bitter when others are blessed?
8. Glory Junkies Are Controlling
When you're full of yourself, it's natural to think that you're the most capable person in your circle. I'm not suggesting it's wise to give an unqualified person complete control and responsibility, but I am suggesting that you're probably too confident in your own qualifications! Glory junkies demand service instead of serving; we ask for privilege when we should be willing to lay down our rights; we struggle to recognize and praise the gifts and abilities of others. Ask yourself - how often do I delegate to others even when I think I can do it myself?
Rehab For Junkies
It's important for me to communicate this again - I write each of these diagnostic signs with personal grief and remorse. At some point or another, in my marriage, my ministry, or in mundane interactions with everyday activities, I have bought the lie that I am a glorious person.
But there's something else I need to communicate - while I'm saddened by my self-glory, I'm not defeated, because the God of amazing grace continues to rescue and restore me. He is progressively delivering me from the kingdom and self, and in the midst of that struggle, he's miraculously using me in the lives of others!
If you were to watch a video recording of my life in 2014, you would think, "This man isn't particularly qualified to teach on self-glory." You would be right, if it wasn't for the glorious grace of Jesus. In love, he has defaced my glory so that his glory would be my delight. He has plundered my kingdom so that his kingdom would be my joy. He has crushed my crown under his feet so that I would quest to be an ambassador and not crave to be a king.
In this violent rehabilitation process, there is hope for you. God will not - he cannot - sit back and watch you destroy your own life in a selfish pursuit of glory. So, he will run you down, humble you, and ultimately dethrone you, not in a cruel manner that takes pleasure in your pain, but in a loving rebuke that prioritizes your eternal delight over momentary satisfaction.
God will not relent until your addicted heart has been fully cleansed. That's good news for junkies like me and you!