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Hungry for His Glory
There is more to attaining His glory than we understand at first. At the heart of it, a desire to pursue relationship with God must be our priority.


Heidi called me from Pemba (Mozambique) today to tell me about last night's outreach. Again an entire village was saved that had no previous Gospel witness or knowledge of salvation in Jesus. And again a totally blind man saw. Our visitors from the West came to see the glory of God in remote Africa, and they were not disappointed. Duncan Smith from Toronto was just with me for a village conference in Morrumbala, near the Zambezi River. He had the time of his life seeing the glory of God fall on the forgotten and poor of the earth. One after another was healed, the joy of the Lord fell, and entire listening audiences gave their lives to serve Jesus.

Hungry for His Glory
Heidi with woman just
healed of blindness.

Just before that, Pastor Rodney Hogue from the Bay area in California was with us in the very remote town of Cuamba for our first large public meetings in Niassa Province. The Holy Spirit fell on our pastors and took hold of hearts that had only known Islam and witchcraft. The fire of God was kindled and now revival is spreading in the last of Mozambique's ten provinces that we have entered with the Gospel. From one village to the next, one bush conference after another, the glory of God is invading one of the poorest nations on earth. We love it!

We are restless. We love breaking new ground, going where the Gospel has never been preached, seeing Jesus do what only He can do. We love revival and anything to do with His kingdom. We love every bit of revelation that graciously comes from His heart. We love His every touch, His every gesture and token of His feelings for us. We love the environment of His Spirit, the beauty of His habitation and creation, and of His face in Jesus. We can never get enough of the assurance of His voice, the testimony of His angels, the wonder of His wisdom, the comfort of His presence. Everything about God brings glory to Himself, and with such thirst we drink Him in, and with such hunger we devour Him in love and worship.

I don't know about you, but Heidi and I don't want anything to get between us and His glory. We don't want to miss out in any way. In our sin we have fallen short of His glory, and Jesus died so that we could attain it in full measure. His glory is our goal, our destination, our ambition, our food, our purpose, our motivation. It's impossible to imagine tasting of the powers of the age to come without hungering after more of His glory.

In concert with us, there is a rising groundswell in the renewal movement of hunger for experiencing His glory, and in particular to be taken up and lost with Him in the heavenlies. We long for this. We long to be where He is, where there is no pain, but only beauty and soothing joy. This is our destiny and inheritance. Like a bride longing to be with her husband, we long to be with our God, finally delivered from the frailties and sorrows of this life. We long to see and feel what only a soul set free in the Holy Spirit can see and feel. And Jesus will grant us our full release—at just the right time, in the right steps, in the right way.

Attaining the glory of God

There is more to attaining His glory than we understand at first. There is fighting the good fight of faith, and running the race to win. There is the grief that we suffer for a short while, if necessary, so that our faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed (see 1 Peter 1:7). There is the process of becoming more than conquerors through faith in Him who died for us and rose again on our behalf. We have the chance over a short span of a few years out of all eternity to prove what Jesus means to us by our faith and endurance. "He who stands firm to the end will be saved" (Mark 13:13).

If we are to see His glory we will need to make it our aim to please Him (see 2 Corinthians 5:9), and there is no way to please Him without faith (see Hebrews 11:6). So if you want to pursue His glory, I believe that it is more relevant to ask what He wants of you than what you want of Him. God who loves us with a love that is stronger than death (see Song of Songs 8:6), makes it clear that He wants our love to be one that is committed, proven, eternal and worthy of His glory. He wants us to love Him with a love that is full of quality and content. This kind of love ravishes Him, gives Him pleasure and causes Him to be happy that He made us. God will stop at nothing to get that kind of love from us.

And so, He doesn't unveil His glory cheaply. While revelation is free in the blood of Jesus, it is also expensive—requiring our death and total surrender to Him. It requires our making the most difficult choices of our lives to choose His way and not ours. Seeing His glory requires our trusting that Jesus can heal and cherish our hearts even in the most intense fire of this world's trials. It requires total faith in the Gospel once and for all, delivered to the saints (see Jude 1:3). It requires the power of the cross—the only conduit of our God's salvation, blessings, and presence. It requires obedience which is the ultimate measure of intimacy with God.

Hungry for His Glory
Heidi with Kakala, a deaf mute all her life, now
healed, hearing and speaking.

How God wants to reveal His glory now

What does His glory look like?

We long to see the unearthly beauties of heaven, but at the same time God Himself is eager to manifest His glory on earth. We cannot wait to be taken out of this world, for good reason. And yet God is eager, determined and able to demonstrate His love in this world through us. His design is to glorify Himself in the midst of the worst damage Satan has done. His purpose is to redeem each of us until He lives in us and we can demonstrate His glory in the most humble, ordinary and sin-damaged circumstances. He is hungry for the glory we will bring Him on judgment day. All is directed at that great day. The fragrance of our lives lived on this earth will be His glory. That fragrance is often obtained through suffering, and He will be worth every ounce of it.

It is for the sake of others that we remain on earth. We are not called simply to experience the miraculous and the glorious, but to love people. There is only one thing that matters to God, and that is people. All creation, and all that God says and does, is for the sake of us who have been made for companionship with Him. People are all-important, and how we relate to each other and God is the only critical issue in the universe.

So pursuing God's glory is really the process of sanctification, without which no one will see God (see Hebrews 12:14). Nothing is possible in God with out sanctification. Pursuing divine revelation is possible only as we pursue sanctification, which is the ultimate purpose of having experiences with God. He wants purity and perfection to be the outcome of our lives. But how does this happen?

Hungry for His Glory
Magdalena, another deaf-
mute instantly healed.

The New Testament is our instruction manual for the Christian life on this earth, and the great majority of it is concerned not with seeking supernatural experiences, but with the "boring" aspects of life in God: integrity, kindness, patience, faithfulness, long-suffering, and gentleness. Paul's constant admonitions are to "grow" in the knowledge of Him, prepared for every good work. Paul prays for us in the Church to experience God's power, but it is the supernatural power to comprehend with all the saints the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of God, and then to flesh that love out in this world. God intends that we confirm His calling and choosing us by walking a path of virtue which causes us to add to our faith goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (see 2 Peter 1:5-7). This is the glory that the heart of God is focused on producing in us by His grace and power revealed in Jesus through the cross. All the glories of heavenly revelation are predicated on this glory.

While we strain forward to what lies ahead for yet more of a down payment on heaven (see Philippians 3:13), we also understand that godliness with contentment is great gain (see 1 Timothy 6:5). Righteousness, peace and joy are the fruit of the Spirit, not just desperation for more. To be happy and in love with God right now, as we are, living in the Spirit, feeling filled and satisfied, is a true taste of heaven. Considering the tragedies and sorrows of this life, real contentment on this earth may be the most miraculous achievement. Contentment may be the true testimony of overcoming faith, and a glorious monument to His grace in us. Why?

So many of us, rich and poor, famous and unknown, educated or not, with a church background or nothing but a past of cruel witchcraft, are in extreme pain, with no relief in sight. It seems that suffering and despair ultimately rule this world. It is the glory of God to destroy that despair, to bring relief to the broken-hearted, to change tears into laughter, hunger and thirst into satisfaction, loneliness into families. People and their feelings are what matter to God. Satan has trampled roughshod over the hearts of mankind until all hope is gone. God is glorified in you when your faith in Him causes you to rise from this grave and find contentment and great joy. That is the glory of God. The joy of the Lord—that most impossible of goals—is the crowing touch of His glory.

Hungry for His Glory
Teaching new Christians in a village to pray and worship.

How do I pursue the glory?

In all our talk of pursuing the glory, I believe that we must pursue relationship with God and not just phenomena. We seek life, and not just miracles. We seek divine romance, and not just visions. We seek the healing of the soul as well as the body. We seek to be one spirit with the Lord (see 1 Corinthians 6:17), and not just to be in heaven. We seek to know Him, and not just to see Him. We seek to understand Him, and not just to hear Him. We seek to be a pleasure to Him, and not just a supplicant. We move toward perfection in Him!

As we become lovers of God, we then can take extreme delight in all His revelations. When our character is like His and our motives are purely focused on loving Him, we are free to pursue Him in heavenly places. It is not possible to enter the kingdom of God and avoid Calvary. It is only through Jesus' death and resurrection that we have power by faith in Him to overcome our pain and remain in His love. Jesus is the image of God (see 2 Corinthians 4:4) and the radiance of God's glory (see Hebrews 1:3). When we receive Him, we truly drink His blood and eat His body and we become united with Him. This is how we attain the glory of God in all its fullness.

Rolland and Heidi Baker, missionaries to the poor living in Mozambique, Africa, are founders of Iris Ministries. They have two natural children and thousands of adopted orphans who know them as Mamma and Papa. They are apostles. E-mail Rolland Baker at: Rolland@irismin.org. Iris Ministries Canadian office: 3092 Shannon Crescent, Oakville, ON L6L 6B4. TEL (905) 847-7749; fax (905) 847-7931. Website: www.irismin.ca; or e-mail Janis Chevreau, Trustee, at info@irismin.ca.

Originally published in Spread the Fire, March/April 2005. www.tacf.org

 

 
 
 
 

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