Every year in December, I send out four Wednesday's Word emails for Advent. These devotionals have been excerpted from my sermon series, which are available with some other free Advent resources at www.PaulTripp.com/Advent.
It was the most important event ever, accompanied by the most important song ever, containing the most important announcement ever - "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased." (Luke 2:14)
There's so much to extract from that little verse, but for the sake of today's devotional, I only want to focus on two words: GLORY and PEACE.
Imagine what the world would be like if every person existed with the GLORY OF GOD as their utmost priority. Imagine what it would be like to participate in a society where the heart of every citizen was captured by the awe of God.
But that's not the state of our world. Our culture is defined by political corruption, social injustice, financial instability, sexual perversion and more. Why? Because human beings have become awe amnesiacs. Ignoring the glory of God, government leaders, celebrities, musicians and athletes pursue their own wealth, fame and power.
Don't be too quick to point the finger, though. When we turn the mirror of God's Word on ourselves, we find that we're glory amnesiacs, too. In the mundane moments of everyday life, we attempt to usurp the King of Glory with our desires, words and actions. We just don't have the media broadcasting our every move.
Here's the bottom line: the principal motivation of our life was supposed to be that God would be praised in every moment. But on many occasions, we simply don't care about the glory of God. The world has gone bad because human beings of all ages and levels of influence have replaced God with temporary created glories that we hope will satisfy.
I want you to imagine again - what would the world be like if every person lived AT PEACE with God, with themselves, and with others? How beautiful would our existence be if there was no international war, acts of terror, racial tension, divorce, or mental illness?
Again, that's not the state of our world. From the moment Adam and Eve sinned, the perfect relationship between God and man was shattered, and when we don't have peace with our Creator, we won't find inner peace. When our souls are conflicted, that turmoil naturally spills into our relationships of every kind. Has anyone reading this devotional lived a conflict-free 2015?
In summary: we are glory thieves living in conflict with God and one another. It's a discouraging reality, isn't it? Yes, initially, but good news can't be good unless you know that there is first bad news. The Good News of Advent is that Jesus came to reclaim and restore wandering hearts and conflicted relationships.
Today I would encourage you to honestly examine your life. Are you trying to usurp God? Are you straining your relationships? Don't hide from what you find, because the announcement of the angels provides hope and help for both of those struggles!
- Which of your desires, words or actions this week have revealed your lack of zeal for the glory of God?
- How would you have desired, spoke, or acted differently in that moment if your heart was captured by God's glory?
- How have you strained your relationships this month? Think of one or two significant relationships in your everyday life.
- What practical steps can you take to restore those relationships, and why can you approach restoration with humility and confession?