A Long Conversation
“It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
(2 Thessalonians 2:14, NAS95)
I’ve had an extended conversation with God about calling and purpose. I did not recognize it in full at the start. At the outset, a question stood out: what in the world does the ambiguous term “glory” mean? Singing? Light? Display of wealth? Power? For me an ambiguous meaning held no meaning. Yet I fell short of that glory or so the book of Romans informs me. So yes, the conversation with God started out with a simple question but ended in an answer over time that surprised me.
I wish I could say that I studied hard, looked at the Greek, examined the Hebrew and came to a massively insightful conclusion. I did not come up with the answer. God did, and He did it very slowly. He did use many things that had crossed my consciousness over the past 40 years in my conversation with Him, and I had had a long-standing question about glory, but it came into focus in the last three or so years looking for a definition.
I think clarity started moving my way after I memorized four passages back in 2016 (1 Cor. 16:14, 1 Cor. 13:1-8, Eph. 3:14-21; 1 Tim. 1:5). God used this to zero in on other passages as I continued spending time with Him through His word, prayer and reflection.
As the present arrived, God had informed me that I don’t know how to love, but He does. My love carries an automatic self-centeredness to it that misses the mark of His glory. Then I heard, God is love — He defines love. I do not and my definitions fall short. In that space, I realized glory has to do with love, His kind of love, not mine. I hate to admit it, I still fall far short of that kind of love, but I recognize it, want it, and it has changed the way I pray about the condition of my heart. God also showed me a verse that states it very clearly, that I am to become the love that God is, John 17:26.
As it touches calling and thus purpose, gaining the glory of Jesus, becoming the love that God is as His image-bearer (John 12:45), holds tremendous sway over my heart at this point. Glory: becoming the love that God is. My calling and purpose clarified by God. I enjoyed the conversation!
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” (Psalm 103:8, NAS95)
- How do you meditate on God and His love?
- What stories do you have of God’s love touching your daily life?