The “Weight” of Glory

For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the Glory of God.    II Corinthians 4:15

In today’s Epistle, Paul moves from the text that I just read to speak of how even though the outer nature wastes away, our inner nature is renewed daily; and then he talks about how this momentary affliction — the hardship of being a Christian in a sinful world – is preparing us for an eternal weight of Glory.

Over these last weeks, in the earlier chapters and verses of II Corinthians, we find that Paul really knows what it is like when he talks about “affliction”, the hardship of being a Christian – he spoke of being troubled in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible to the world.

Considering our lives and the things which we have experienced, Paul’s words can sound pretty disheartening!  Yes, we are very much aware of the resistance the world and Satan can throw at us – there’s been enough in our history to prove that – and we’re not quite eager to be reminded about that right now.  What a staggering list of unpleasantries Paul lists as awaiting the witnessing Christian: troubled, crushed, persecuted, struck down, and so forth!  You almost want to fade into the background and be invisible to the world around us.

But on the other hand, we realize that Paul has a more important task than to merely make us feel comfortable and undisturbed – there is something greater that is going on here; that as bad as things may seem to get throughout our work of doing the Lord’s will, you will NOT be crushed, You will NOT be driven to despair, you will NOT be forsaken, you will NOT be destroyed, but rather you will make the life of Jesus visible to the world.  You will never be overwhelmed, Satan need never have the upper hand over you.

The reason is clearly emphasized in today’s lesson – because HE Who raised the Lord Jesus WILL RAISE US ALSO WITH JESUS and bring us with Him into the presence of God Himself. No matter how bad things may seem to get, GOD HAS THE LAST SAY.

Just look at what Paul is saying!  Yes on one hand is an awesome, and perhaps even awful responsibility, yet there is on the other hand a most remarkable partnership that we are most privileged and honored to participate in.  Think of how much power and might the Lord has.  Think of how much power and might the angels have.  You almost have the mental image of the little kid brother being on his older brothers’ team.  Now he’s too small and inexperienced to really do much, and the older brothers will have to watch out for him, yet how grand he feels to be there with the older brothers, to be let in on and to participate in their battle and their victory.

Paul is declaring a most amazing point for us to consider.  Not only are we allowed to participate in the action that encompasses the universe, not just the seen but also the unseen universe, but then at the same time we discover that Satan takes us seriously.  Although he probably would like to think of us as merely little gnats to flick away, he knows that we can do very serious damage to his kingdom and he can’t afford to just ignore us.  Therefore we have the attacks that Paul describes, attacks that are serious attempts to disable us and our power in the battle.

The frustration for Satan is that the Lord, just like with Job, sets boundaries and limits so that we are not crushed, left in despair, forsaken or destroyed.  Like the little brother not aware of what the older brothers are doing for him, so often we don’t realize the full extent of what the Lord and His holy angels are doing to protect us.  All we know is that we survive yet another ambush of Satan and continue down the playing field carrying the ball toward victory.

What wonderful news that is, news that gives us such power for living, such hope and excitement as we await the next victory that the Lord IS GOING TO HAVE in our lives.

But then St. Paul says something really weird – strange – He says that all this adds up to an eternal weight of Glory beyond all comparison. What a strange combination of words – eternal WEIGHT of Glory.  One usually thinks of “weight” as a hindrance, and Glory to be something wonderful – weight as undesirable and Glory as very desirable.

What a peculiar combination of words that St. Paul would put together.  At first look, an “eternal weight of Glory” — an eternal weight of anything doesn’t sound very attractive or something you’d want to have.  It sounds too much like a millstone – something that drags you down, slows you down, and works against you.

As they say, it takes money to make money. Chronic back pain every so often will last almost everywhere in lifestyles. This pill begins functioning as it enters the male’s body, it smooths the blood flow is less, your erection will not be strong and cannot penetrate into her genital passage for lovemaking. That being said, online purchases of the medication does not act adversely causing negative effects, however, if circumstances are levitra generic vardenafil not in the favor of the patient he quickly derives the right treatment plan. But now, aren’t there times when a weight is very important? – in fact, extremely necessary in order to do one’s best?   times when weight is very desirable, as for instance, the tail of a kite which gives it weight and stability and a certain resistance to the wind — all so that it will fly more evenly, and climb like it should?  The flywheel of an engine is simply a heavy weight, but it helps in keeping the engine running smoothly. The weights in a grandfather clock keep tugging the clock onward to the next minute, the next hour.

But perhaps the best example, and maybe even one Paul had in mind, was the ballast weight for a sailboat.  You’d be a fool to build a sailboat without a heavy weight along the keel – why all you’d need was the first gust of wind hitting the sail and the boat would flip right over.

However, WITH the weight, the boat not only can hold its own against the wind, but it can make use of the wind, even getting mileage out of that force. With the weight, the ship sits lower in the water, riding out the storms that come upon it, keeping it from being tossed about by the whims of the waves, keeping it from perhaps even being broken apart by the waves.  With the weight, the majesty of the sailboat is in full evidence, decked out with all of its sails, something that catches the eye of everyone.

Paul mentioned many of the storms that the ship of our faith encounters: troubles, persecutions, being struck down, and so forth – all storms that the witnessing Christian faces, storms which can easily break the back of any of us, just like a ship that rides too high in the water is broken by the storm’s waves.  Or we can find ourselves easily bowled over the first time we meet any strong opposition, like the sailboat without weighted keel.  We need something to help weather life’s storms, to turn what seems to be opposition into something useful – something we can get mileage out of — some kind of ballast weight.  There is only one weight that will fill that bill — the eternal weight of Glory.

In other words, a Glory that can stabilize life, like with the kite; something that can give life more evenness, like the engine’s flywheel; a Glory that does not falter, but goes beyond and even turns what is adverse into an advantage, like the sailboat’s weight; a Glory that holds you firm, despite the waves of the storms that threaten you.  Do you have that Glory – that ballast – that valuable and useful weight in your life? Are you have the Glory – and think about what the word “Glory” means – are you in touch with a Glory that can hold you steady despite threats, hindrances, and in fact make good things come out of it all?

Look at your life, the way you react to things, perhaps fight against them, or get overwhelmed by them – be they your family, marriage, kids, parents; be it your job, inflation, politics.  Perhaps it was a rained-out picnic, or a business deal that fell through – or your roof leaks.  Maybe it is a matter of life – or death – of yourself, or of someone you love.  Perhaps when you stood up as a Christian, people put you down.  All of these storms in life which threaten to bowl us over, overwhelm us, break us.  Perhaps it seems that life has no direction, no purpose – you really seem to be floating – floating too high, too vulnerable – and if a crisis comes it could break you.

Could you use a little more ballast to your ship, a little more weight to the keel of your sailing ship of faith?

St. Paul directs us to the only thing that fill that order – He lines us up again with the source of the Glory we need, reminding us again of how come it is so glorious.  He begins by pointing out that Glory belongs to God and comes from God – it’s totally wrapped up in God – it is the honor, the praise; beauty, tremendousness of God. He is the Creator of everything, with the mind and power to first figure it out, then to create, and then to govern it so that nothing escapes His rule.  So if He says that nothing will overwhelm you, He can back up that promise!

But also from the very earliest pages of the Bible, you cannot escape the fact that God’s Glory is wrapped up in His great love, kindness, goodness and Covenant with mankind. It’s a Glory that takes human form, in Jesus, come as Savior, a Glory that would put aside everything He had to come to earth for our sakes.  It is a Glory filled with grace, mercy, forgiveness and His unbendable steadfastness.

Once in a Youth Group, we talked about a man who had a vision of heaven, and how he wanted to return to earth, to now work even harder for his Lord.  One girl said that if she were in heaven she wouldn’t want to leave, to come back to this earth – no way.  Why would this man want to?  I could only say that he had to have been infected with the same love Jesus had, where Jesus gave up all the splendor and wonder of heaven, to actually live down here, to die a painful and hard death on a cross – Jesus traded all of heaven just in order to die on a cross. The Glory of that love can truly be a weight that stabilizes our lives, as we actually see just how much Almighty God really cares for us, and how far He is willing to go in that love for us.

The last weight of Glory is that God the Holy Spirit dwells in us.  God wasn’t satisfied with just giving us His power and His love – He has also given us Himself.  He is actually present in us wherever we go, whatever we do, whatever happens to us – God submits Himself to everything that happens to us.

This is the weight of Glory, not meant at all to slow us down, not to be a millstone, but rather to give us a tremendous new source of ability so that we might meet life head-on and have wonderful things result, so that we will not be overwhelmed, but instead be more than conquerors as St. Paul tells us.  And this stabilizing weight of Glory is something that will last us even into eternity.

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