Monday, March 3, 2014

Unleashed Glory

 “There she was… in all her glory!”

We have all heard the expression before countless times.  We use this expression to describe someone who is “letting it all hang out” or their whole self is fully engaged and they are offering themselves completely, in the moment, for the eyes to behold.   They are holding back nothing and are not ashamed of what they are exposing, be it their body, their personality, or what they have to offer of themselves in the situation. They are presenting “all of their glory”.

If you have a particularly humorous friend who was at a party with you and he was being funny for everyone that night, you might say, “Oh yeah, David was there in all his glory!”  He was unabashedly sharing all he was and had to offer to those around him…and it brought joy to everyone. Isn’t it a refreshing pleasure to be around people who are not ashamed to live, love, talk, and relate “in all their glory”?

When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, their eyes were suddenly opened to the fact that they were naked and they were instantly ashamed.   They were “in all their glory” but the original sin made them ashamed of their glory…the glory that God created them to carry as an image bearer of Him.  They foolishly thought they could hide their glory from Him, but he came and walked in the garden calling to them, “Where are you?”…As if He did not know where they were.

Miriam Webster’s dictionary defines “glory” as “a distinguished quality or asset, great beauty and splendor, something marked by beauty or resplendence, a state of great gratification or exaltation, a ring or spot of light/halo appearing around an object.”

Strong’s concordance defines “glory” as “the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor, honor, renown, what evokes good opinion, i.e. that something has inherent, intrinsic worth, brightness –as of the moon, sun and stars, magnificence, dignity, excellence, grace, a thing belonging to God or Christ, a most glorious condition.”

Wow!  And we try to hide this?

It says in Isaiah 61:3, “God sent me to… rename them (the captives) “Oaks of Righteousness” planted by God to display his glory.”

 Freedom, beauty, and God’s glory are in the genetic make up of our hearts. We were created to live and be free with our glory unleashed but we are crippled with fear of our own glory.  It’s almost as bad as being afraid of our own shadow!  The people we remember most through history are typically those who lived their lives unleashed and exposed, fearless to reveal their glory.  They left a legacy because they lived, loved, talked, and related to others “in all their glory.”  So what are we afraid of then?

Why are we always trying to cover or push down that particular unique way that we are an image bearer of God? Stasi Eldredge, author of Captivating, says, “Our desires, what interests us, and what excites us is how we are bearing God’s image. Its how we reveal His beauty.”  In the book Waking the Dead, her husband John Eldredge says it this way, “God endowed you with a glory when he created you, a glory so deep and mythic that all creation pales in comparison. A glory unique to you, just as your fingerprints are unique to you, just as the way you laugh is unique to you. Somewhere down deep inside we've been looking for that glory ever since.

We attempt to cover up something so uniquely beautiful, instead of digging to uncover it like a hidden treasure.

Just as Adam and Eve covered up in the garden and were ashamed to be “in all their glory” before God, we are ashamed and afraid we will expose ourselves, and our glory, when we offer our true, authentic selves.  Why can’t we just be everything that we are?  Why are we so quick to hold back? Why do we choose parts to hold back as if we are deciding that it will be too much for people to handle or that it won’t be enough? What would be wrong with someone saying, "Yep, there's Jene' in all her glory!"?  Shouldn’t that be a good thing?

And yet, we play it safe…

Did Jesus 
try to play safely by keeping part of his glory under wraps?  I think not.  He lived his life completely unleashed in His glory.  Was King David mediocre in the way that he worshipped God?  I think dancing naked before God qualifies as living unleashed, wouldn’t you say?  We have been lulled into believing that it is best to play it safe and hold back to a place of mediocrity.  We choose for ourselves a life of safety so as to not make ourselves vulnerable.  We hold back part of ourselves because we think, “Who would be interested in my full self - me in all my glory?”... or at least this is how we justify not living the unleashed life.

What happens when a dog is on a leash?  He is restricted.  The leash tells him how far he can go.  What happens when you take a dog off of their leash?  They run with joy and freedom and their true personality is immediately exposed.  They are in all their glory!

The interesting thing is, we are holding our own leash.

We need freedom.  We need to be unleashed!  Unleashed to live and walk fully in our glory.  Unleashed to be the free, beautiful, unique creation that God intended us to be.  God’s love is unleashed.  His glory is unleashed.  We were made in His image, so doesn’t it only make sense that we should be living unleashed?

If we take in a bird with a wounded wing and help restore it back to its original strength, would we expect it not to take flight again and soar majestically back into the sky?  Of course not!  We nursed it back to health so that it could soar again…in all its glory.  Jesus came to this earth and died on the cross so that our glory could be restored.  The glory is here.  The glory, His glory, is in us but we have put it on a short leash or locked it in a cage.  Unleash it. Be you…the whole, complete, unashamed, glorious you.

Lord, show me practical ways to begin to live, love, talk, and relate to others while exposing my glory that is uniquely mine…the glory you placed in me.  Help me to be vulnerable.

Keep your eyes straight ahead and walk boldly, unabashedly, unleashed, in all your glory.

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