Confessions of a Glory Thief

We were name-dropping,
the lot of us,
sitting around a hotel lobby
swapping stories about how we’d rubbed elbows
or shared elevators
with the rich and famous.
(I once sat beside Hulk Hogan on a cross-country flight.)
Why is there such pleasure for us in this diversion?
I think because as the famous name drops,
we bask, for a moment, in the outer ring of celebrity glory,
standing in the splatter-pattern of awe aimed at
these worthy individuals
we catch a splash of adoration and hope it makes us more
than we were on our own.
It’s silly
but it’s such a phenomenon
that the rich and famous rarely travel
without an entourage of glory thieves.
People are hard-wired to worship something – someone –
and that worship is easily diverted to lesser gods
American Idols
athletes and actresses,
tycoons and politicians in power suits.
Theoretically, this adoration is limitless but
it most often feels like a finite commodity
and so we panic there won’t be enough to go around
and we grasp at the brass ring hanging from others’ merry-go-rounds.
I confess that I, too, have been a glory thief
but I have aimed high,
inhaling the incense of adoration
intended for Jesus.
It’s true.
I wish I could say I’ve always drawn close to God for the amazing truth of God
but more often, I’ve drawn close to Him
in the hopes that some of His excess glory would fall on me.
This was never more of a struggle than when I played guitar and sang with
a rocking worship team.
We were hot.
I’d never made better music before and haven’t made better music since.
It was worship music
and our goal was to lead others to worship Jesus
but sometimes the worship lines got a little murky,
the awe and energy rising like an incense fog
clouding the initial goal
and there were times, I know, I worshiped the sound we made
not the One who made us.
And I sucked up the admiration of the congregants
like an African violet seeks the sun –
no, that’s way too delicate –
my spirit developed an appetite for this adoration
like that giant plant in Little Shop of Horrors – Feed Me, Seymour, Feed Me.
And it wasn’t long before I was cozying up to God
just to build my own congregation
from the overflow of His.
At some point, I repented,
and now I’m selective about my “up front” ministry opportunities
knowing how easily tempted I am
to steal God’s glory.
I face it with writing.
I face it with acts of service.
I face it in relationships.
I combat it through regular solitude,
anonymity in service when possible,
and transparency with others.
I thought this battle was my own private secret,
a solitary battle,
until I read Soul’s Gate by Jim Rubart
and encountered a scene at the concert of a Christian singer
that beautifully illustrates
the danger
the temptation,
the demonic assistance given
when we have an opportunity to be scene stealers in
the passion play.
The image from that novel has become part of my arsenal in
the warfare against my own temptable flesh.
It was striking in it’s truth
and repugnant enough to be a useful deterrent to sin.
I confess I have been a glory thief.
It’s no small thing to receive the praise and worship
that only rightly belongs to God.
So I’ve repented and will repent again
when the tendrils of temptation spring from the
seeds of my desire to be the object of worship
rather than the worshiper.
And I look forward to the day
when I am fully free
of this nature that seeks to steal from God
rather than reflect back to God all that is due Him.
It’s a battle I fight now
with the freedom afforded me through my relationship with Jesus Christ.
He knows what I’m made of
He knows the snares that seek to trip me up
even in my pursuit of Him.
But He is greater even than my appetite for personal glory.
How about you?
Ever struggle with this temptation?
Have you also tried to rob from God?
What weapons are in your arsenal?
Am I alone on this one?

 


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2 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. tina hunt says:

    Definitely not alone. This weak spot in me has more than once been Satan’s foothold. (insert confession and repentance here). I’ll be checking out the book…I need all weapons I can get.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think we’ve all succumbed to the temptation to seek glory for ourselves at some time. It’s recognizing when we’ve given in to that temptation–and confessing and repenting–that real Glory arrives. You have such an open way of confessing it helps me see my own foolish ways. What a joy it will be to see the real Rock Star face-to-face and bask in His glory knowing that you are right there sharing it with Him. How comforting that image is to me. MOMMA