After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” (John 17:1-4)
This passage is so rich in meaning. God the Father gave Jesus authority over all people so He could give people eternal life. Eternal life is having a close, intimate relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And here we also see that glory-giving is a reciprocal thing. Jesus brought the Father glory by finishing the work the He gave Him to do, and the Father glorifies Jesus in return. It is an on-going cycle.
How different this is from our default way of thinking and being. We seek to gain glory for ourselves by finishing the work we give ourselves to do, so that we can gain life for ourselves and have meaningful relationships with others. Some of these things are not inherently wrong, but they are reversed from the way that Jesus, the perfect human, and His Heavenly Father relate to each other, and that is what makes them wrong. Our default way is like running backwards around a race track that was designed and built by God. The scenery is familiar either way, but when you run backwards you don’t end up at the right place in the end.
We need to stop running and ask ourselves, “Am I trying to glorify myself with my life, or am I going to spend my life glorifying God by doing the work that He has given me to do?”
When we re-orientate ourselves toward glorifying God by doing what He has given us to do, we can rest in His love and grace. Our ultimate need is to know and be known by God, and we already have that in Jesus. So any glory that comes to us is a bonus gift from God. And we end up in the right place in the end.
Prayer: Dear Jesus, show me what You want me to do. Help me to bring You glory by doing that, and help me to rest in Your love. Amen.