The thing I want and hope for is that I will not fail Christ in anything. I hope that I will have the courage now, as always, to show the greatness of Christ in my life here on earth. I want to do that if I die or if I live.
- Philippians 1:20
Our frame was never designed by our Creator to possess and handle the glory that only belongs to Him. In the book of Acts, we read of the people of Tyre and Sidon who faced a famine and appealed to King Herod for assistance. A delegation from these cities came to his palace and the occasion was prepared for him to impress his guests by appearing in extravagant royal dress and giving a special oratorical address that would be the opportunity for them to please him with their accolade and applause. Acts 12:21-23 reads: "On the appointed day Herod, wearing his royal robes, sat on his throne and delivered a public address to the people. They shouted, 'This is the voice of a God, no of a man.' Immediately, because Herod did not give praise to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died."
In Isaiah 42:8, we read, "I am the Lord; that is my name! I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols." In our day, the tabloids show that fame and riches are not handled well by mortals, and even for us who can make a claim to neither, we still struggle with the greatness of self over allowing the greatness of Christ to be shone in our lives. Greatness is mutually exclusive - given to either self, or, to Christ. Where there is the more of self, there will be less of Christ, and conversely, the more of Christ, the less of self. But in God's design, we as the created are to be reflectors of the Creator and never claimants as the source of glory. The apostle Paul was happy that Christ was shown, magnified, and preached, even if he was not directly a part of the work himself and even if it was accomplished through those who criticized the work himself and even if it was accomplished through those who criticized and opposed him! Paul was more interested in advancing the name of Christ than the name of Paul and rejoiced to see it done even if his name was not attached to it. What an example of selflessness. I am always touched by the pure and selfless love of Jonathan toward David as we read in I Samuel. King Saul became rabidly jealous of David who slayed the Philistine giant, Goliath, when the maidens were singing of Saul killing his thousands, and David, his ten thousands (I Samuel 18:7). Jonathan knew that God was with David and vowed to protect him at all costs from his father, Saul, who sought David's life. On the evening in which Saul plotted to kill him, Jonathan informed David and made a way of escape. After perceiving what his son had done, Saul was furious at Jonathan and even thrusted as spear at him after telling him that as long as David lived the kingdom of Israel would never become Jonathan's. But for Jonathan, possessing the kingdom meant nothing compared with making sure that his friend, David, was a love and out of harm's way. From that point on, Jonathan served his father faithful and eventually died with Saul in battle, never to assume the throne, but to be forever remembered in scripture for his selflessness that placed David on the platform of kingship over his own. So, with such a heart, we should be selfless to enable Jesus to be Himself in and through us. The work himself and even if it was accomplished through those who criticized and opposed him! Paul was more interested in advancing the name of Christ than the name of Paul and rejoiced to see it done even if his name was not attached to it. What an example of selflessness.