God is Not a Narcissistic Glory Monger
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Jesus said you will know a tree by it's fruit (Matthew 7:15-23). Our fruit gives evidence as to what type of tree we are. Our actions give evidence of our character (James 2:18). Jesus said every good tree bears good fruit but the bad tree bears bad fruit. (v17). Also notice in this verse Jesus states "every" good tree. This means there is no exception. There aren't good trees who don't produce good fruit, nor are there bad trees who don't product bad fruit. The actions will automatically result from the nature of the tree.
35 The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. - Matthew 12:35
According to scripture, the same is true of God. God's actions are in subjection to or as a result of His character.
11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will, - Ephesians 1:11 (emphasis mine).
But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) - Ephesians 2:4-5 (emphasis mine).
15 and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. - 2 Corinthians 5:15 (emphasis mine)
34 Moved with compassion, Jesus touched their eyes; and immediately they regained their sight and followed Him. - Matthew 20:34 (emphasis mine).
God's works are in accordance with His counsel, His will.
God is the ultimate, perfect, good tree, therefore because that's who He is, God produces purely perfect, good fruit. It's who He is! (Keep in mind God's goodness encompasses much more than what the world describes merely as good). I believe the reason Moses asked to see God's glory in Exodus 33:18 is because Moses wanted to know God better. Just as it is to know good fruit is to be able to trust it's a good tree bearing it. To see God's glory is to be able to know the goodness of God.


In verse 18 Jesus continues, "a good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit." (v18). This reaffirms that our actions are in subjection to our character. This is true of us and it's also true of God. Do you know there are some things God cannot do? Because God is who He is, there are some things He is incapable of. For example, as Hebrews 6:17-18, Titus 1:2 and 1 Samuel 15:29 tell us God cannot lie. 2 Timothy 2:13 states that God cannot deny Himself. These things are not limited by a lack of power (for we who have no real power are able to lie or become unfaithful to ourselves) but rather they are limited by God's own character. He cannot lie because He is holy and there is no darkness in Him (1 John 1:5, 2 Cor. 6:14). He cannot deny Himself because He is sovereign and faithful. Notice in both cases these would-be actions (lying, denying Himself) are restricted by who God is and therefore it is impossible for Him to do them. Actions are in subjection to character, it is not the other way around. Another basic example of this order is the classic verse John 3:16.


 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. - John 3:16


Because God so loved the world, He gave. Not the other way around. God did not give His only begotten Son and thereby make Himself love the world. It was because of His character, in this case, His lovingkindness, that the action of Him sending His Son came from. The action resulted because of the Character.


When you consider the gifts of God can you help but marvel over the Giver? (James 1:17). When you taste a strawberry, smell a rose, see a sunset, hear a symphony, or feel a warm embrace, do you not hear it's testimony, that God is a God who delights in sharing with us joyful and pleasing things (Psalm 16:11). When you consider the complexity of a cell, the mechanics of muscles, the interweaving of our ecosystem, or the massiveness of the universe do you not ponder the magnitude of God? Even instinctually we know that the action (creation) gives irrefutable evidence of the cause (God).


20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. - Romans 1:20


If actions were not in subjection to character, in otherwords if a good tree could bear bad fruit, or a bad tree could bear good fruit than nature's testimony could be refutable. This however is not the case. As Paul points out in this above verse God's eternal power and divine nature has been made known to all men by the testimony of His good fruit (creation). Consider now the testimony of the lilies.


28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! - Matthew 6:28-30


God is inviting us to consider the testimony of the lilies, to sit and hear what they declare about the character of God. Ponder this. It's important that you do. The lilies testimony is unquestionable because they can have no ulterior motive. The lilies testimony speaks multitudes about God, and among there testimony is this. "God takes care of me with splendor that exceeds man's capabilities even though I am here today and tomorrow I am cut down. Though I am insignificant in man's eyes, the intimacy of God is far exceeding and abundant (see also Matt. 10:30, Eph. 3:20) and the magnitude of God is so powerful that He still regards me and consistently clothes me with glory to the likes that man has no comparable champion. If God clothes me with such great glory, imagine the attention He pays to you who's worth far exceeds mine, you who were built to live forever." If you keep listening, the lilies will keep you marveling about God.


God acts because of His goodness, because of His glory. God does not act to give Himself more glory but rather He acts as a result of His goodness and glory. I'm not saying God doesn't do things to make His glory known, as we will discuss, He does. I'm straightening out those think that God is somehow contributing to His glory as if He wasn't already glorious to the fullest extent.


25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; - Acts 17:25


God has been fully glorious even before the world was.


Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was. - John 17:5


God is not a narcissist. mayoclinic.org defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as "a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism." I bring this up because there is a temptation to see God through these lenses as you read about God's zeal for making His glory known. As we'll discuss, it is in our best interest that God makes His glory known; God's recognition of His own importance is not inflated but is honest. It's not conceited, it's accurate. Our recognition of His importance is paramount and can literally be the difference between eternal life and hell. (John 14:6, 17:3). God does not have an ego problem nor a fragile self-esteem. It is not to His benefit that He make His glory known to us, it is to ours. To say it is to His benefit is to say that God somehow needed us. To say it is to His benefit is to say that God was lacking. Common sense and scripture will tell you that God is in no way dependent upon man (Psalm 8:3-4, 144:3, Job 7:17).


God is first and foremost glorious. There are many examples in the bible that testify to God's incomparable love fueling His actions toward us apart from Him glory seeking. Not that those things don't show off God's glory, but it is always in this order: God is glorious > therefore God acts glorious > therefore His glory is revealed. It's important that you realize that. Otherwise you may be tempted to see it as: God wants to be glorious > therefore God seeks His glory > therefore God is glorious. If you've adopted the latter view than you may no longer see God as doing things because He loves you but because He wanted to glorify Himself. This is not according to scripture (John 3:16, 1 John 3:16, 4:9), nor is it according to reason. Think about it, if the ultimate purpose behind God's actions are to glorify Himself than because that is His purpose it also defeats that purpose. Let me give you this example. If I open the car door for my wife because I love her it may result in her glorifying me (dwelling on my love for her, telling her friends of my doting on her, etc.) If I open the car door for my wife because it makes me look good, that in itself, makes me look bad. Her regard for me would not be of my great love for her but rather my great love for looking good. Therefore it would be self defeating as my desire to look good would actually make me look bad. How many things has God done for you, for the world, for those that constantly reject Him, who spit on Him, who strike Him, who mock Him, who seek to destroy Him and His children that are never appreciated? Did God only die for those that would appreciate it or did He equally die for those that would never appreciate it? (1 John 2:2, Rom. 5:8).


and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2


10 For it is for this we labor and strive, because we have fixed our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of believers. - 1 Timothy 4:10


But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. - 2 Peter 2:1  (emphasis mine)


God acted on behalf of those that would never glorify Him for those actions. Why? because God acted out of who He is, for God is love (1 John 4:8). God loving you does bring glory to Himself but Him loving you is because that's who He is, and as we've established, God's actions are in subjection to God's character.


16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. - 1 John 3:16


The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. - 1 John 4:8-9


"...so that we might live through Him." Never forget your first love (Rev. 2:4). God, in His amazing love and grace, died for us while we weren't seeking Him (Rom. 5:8) "...so that we might live through Him." Yes this also brings glory to Him (how could we not revel in and praise Him in lieu of such love), but as scripture here points out, His only begotten Son was sent so that we might live! Verse 8 points out that God is love. Verse 9 points out the manifestation of that love which was for us!


Consider God's own analogy of Himself in the story of the prodigal. What is it the father celebrates?


20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate. - Luke 15:20-24


There is so much to be learned here about the heart of God in the story of the prodigal that I'm having a hard time not side tracking to it (we do dive in on other articles listed herein). However, the point of this excerpt was to point out God's actions toward us that stem from His character apart from seeking to glorify Himself. Let me ask you this, when you read this story do you picture the father sitting on the porch thinking to himself "oh man, this is going to make me look so good!". Ridiculous. There should be no way you come to that conclusion when you read this story. What you see at work here is the love that Paul speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.


Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails; - 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a


The prodigal's father was watching the horizon out of compassion (v 20). While it does make the father look good, they did not celebrate because it made the father look good, they celebrated because "this son of mine was dead and has come to live again; he was lost and has been found." (v. 24).


Along those lines consider the hosts of heaven. Just before the story of the prodigal Jesus testifies that there is more joy in heaven in the presence of angels over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7, 10). Keep in mind these hosts of heaven are in the full glorious presence of the Father already! They already know the full extent of the glory of God! Yet when a sinner repents, they celebrate!


If it were just a matter of God glorifying Himself (that is to exalt Himself) than this could have been achieved through judgement. After all, even those who reject the free gift of salvation will still bow to God and honor Him as Lord thus glorifying the Father (Philippians 2:10-11). However God's characteristics consist of more than just being just and wrathful but as we pointed out earlier, His characteristics also consist of love, grace, and mercy among many more. His holiness and His love were both satisfied on the cross. I would venture to say that if God were only about God's glory than we couldn't grieve the Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30) because in our sin God's glory (specifically His mercy and grace) are magnified (Rom. 5:20, 6:1-2). Before we move on to the next article, may I conclude with one final Example to sum all these examples. That is Jesus Christ.


 3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, - Hebrews 1:3 (emphasis mine)


in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. - 2 Corinthians 4:4 (emphasis mine)


15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. - Colossians 1:15 (emphasis mine)


 Jesus Christ is the image of the invisible God, the exact representation of His nature. If you want to know God, God's heart, God's meekness, you need to look no further. Specifically let me highlight Philippians 2 below:


Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. - Philippians 2:3-7 (emphasis mine)


You know what a glory monger doesn't ever do...ever? They don't give up their glory for a path of humility. That's rule #1 at glory mongers camp. To do such a thing would be unthinkable. For God to do it, Him who is most glorious, it's even more astounding. To the Jews it's a stumbling block, to the gentiles it's foolishness (1 Cor. 1:23-24).


29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. - Matthew 11:29 (emphasis mine)


For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached You fell on Me.” - Romans 15:2 (emphasis mine)


50 But I do not seek My glory; there is One who seeks and judges. 51 Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he will never see death.” 52 The Jews said to Him, “Now we know that You have a demon. Abraham died, and the prophets also; and You say, ‘If anyone keeps My word, he will never taste of death.’ 53 Surely You are not greater than our father Abraham, who died? The prophets died too; whom do You make Yourself out to be?” 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God’; - John 8:50-54


It is not good to eat much honey,
Nor is it glory to search out one’s own glory. - Proverbs 25:27 (emphasis mine)


God is first and foremost glorious, not because He seeks it, but because He is. From God's character stems His actions. Having established that, let's now proceed on the subject of God acting on behalf of His glory.



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