To Manifest His Glory.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Mandela’s words made me radically rethink and reorient my approach to God’s glory – as I bear His image, conform to His likeness, submit to His Spirit, grow as His child and look to Him as the light of this dark world (and as He calls me to be a light in this world!). It is an encouragement to see Mandela turn to God when he attempts to understand his place in this world. Surely if he looked to his enemies or circumstances he would not have spoken of the hope and liberation found in living out the glory of God. In his questioning he draws on this underlying theme of purpose.

Mandela looks through his fear to the underlying question of the heart, answered in our God-given identity. He looks through our God-given identity to our purpose, the reason God has placed us here on this earth. He stirs our hearts with faith and hope in believing God at His word: that despite our broken states we can manifest the beauty of His glory here on earth. Mandela is compelling us to remember we are children, and that our Father of lights wants us to shine for Him, to bring Him glory.

To bring glory to God:
a birthing of purpose,
that stirring of belief.

To trust God:
that we are made to powerfully represent him,
to bear his image here on earth.

To live:
in his freedom, in his Spirit,
in the love of Christ.

Mandela’s quote has left me questioning my own approach to flourishing under God; a faith that blooms here and now with a fragrance that remains into eternity. For we are the aroma of Christ, he our fragrant offering. In him is eternal life. In him we flourish. He is our source of hope, the very foundation for our faith.

How encouraging to see the boldness of Mandela’s faith: that which endures when the extremities of his experience all fade away. Mandela is a household name, but I hadn’t really read his story before. (Isn’t it interesting how history is filtered in this way, the classroom privileging certain narratives of time over others…). So I decided to explore Nelson Mandela’s life, learning of his tumultuous experience. It is easy to esteem the lives of those who have gone before, to elevate their experiences as holier and mightier than ours today. It is natural to assume that such idols of culture and inspirations of the past century were flawless and fierceless models of humanity. Yet. As I dived deeper into the details of Mandela’s tale, what struck me was the very humanity he displayed: a flawed character in a fallen world. Why do we never hear about the flaws? Did you know that Mandela had three wives in his lifetime? That struck me – a household name with a trail of broken homes. (I’m not judging: simply struck by the normality of this!! the humanity of these public figures isn’t always apparent…).

Mandela’s quote touched me, but I soon discovered how much it resonated with others when I shared it to my Instagram story. The responses flooded in. “What a quote!” “What truth” “Wow” “Amen”. The response was actually so overwhelming that made me wonder what would happen if everyone had the same awe and love at the realization of who Jesus is and what he has done and what he is about and what he calls us into?

there is a Kingdom to which cannot be shaken.
there is an invitation to follow.
not blindly,
not for the sake of it,
but because He is taking us somewhere.
there is somewhere for us to go.
Someone for us to go to.
but we need a Light to lead us.
we need a Good Shepherd who will guide us into the pastures of His presence.

the freedom Jesus proclaims,
the healing Jesus delivers,
the victory Jesus secures,
the hope Jesus gives.

it all comes back to this Kingdom,
this invitation to enter into intimacy with our Maker.
to go home to our Heavenly Father.
to live with him forevermore
in the joy of his household.

This is what we long for, as Christians; we long to dwell in the presence of our Lord and Saviour. To see him in his glory. Paul, when he says “for me to live is Christ, to die is gain” alludes to this. Here and now, our circumstance are not any indication of God’s goodness to us. He is good regardless of whether the things in our lives are “going good”. His goodness is not contingent on our contentment. He is good and glorious, and we see glimpses of this! But when we die, when we go to be with him, there will be SO MUCH gain.

In the Old Testament, the term “glory”is often associated to God manifesting himself. He reveals himself to his people in all his power and greatness, and here it is his very presence that is his glory, his holiness. His glory is said to “be there” (Ezekiel 8:4) to “fill the tabernacle” (Exodus 40:34-35) to “fill the house” (2 Chronicles 7:1-3). Even Revelation draws on this notion of God’s glory “filling” God’s temple (15:8). Now, this has interesting connotations for us today. For we are described as God’s temple, and His Spirit in us means we too have the manifestation of His glory, His power indwelling, filling us until we are overflowing with His love and character and nature. God definitely specifies that he can and will use His people to show His glory. He says to Isaiah: “you are My Servant, Israel, in Whom I will show My glory.” (Isaiah 49:3).

If God’s glory has this ability to “fill”, that confirms His presence and Spirit is active. And for this fullness to be displayed in us through the work of the Spirit – wow. But His fullness is not just limited to us. He fills all things (verse): “The whole earth is full of His glory” (Isaiah 6:1-4). The manifestation of God’s glory is not just “showing up” but “filling up”: His abundance. His richness. His goodness. On display. In depth.

There is no doubt that this abundance is found in Jesus. Listen to Paul speaking to his brothers and sisters in Christ: my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19-20).

If we look to the New Testament to understand God’s glory, we start to see that we cannot separate God’s glory from Jesus. For we learn that the God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6). And that Jesus is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature (Hebrews 1:3). 

Jesus is clearly centre stage when it comes to seeing God’s glory.
And if there were a spotlight this stage, we would see a cross.

For what we see clearly in Jesus is the relationship between glory and suffering. It was because of his suffering of death that he was crowned with glory and honour (Hebrews 2:9)We see this same language coming from Peter when he speaks to believers, stating “after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you” (1 Peter 5:10).

What does it mean, then,  for us to manifest God’s glory? If we read that last passage again, we see that it is God who works in and through us. He glorifies himself! However, we must not dismiss our ability to actively ask God to glorify himself in and through us. When was the last time you invited God to take the glory? Or asked to taste His glory?

If we look to the Word, we learn that Jesus invites us to see his glory when he became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14).  What he demonstrated to his disciples was a deep intimacy with his Father. 

See there is some pretty special glory-sharing going on between God the Father and God the Son. This is most clearly articulated in the gospel of John, where we see the relationship of Father and Son, and how each glorifies the other. Jesus says, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.” (John 13:31-32)

Just as Mandela’s quote calls us to remember our God-given identity and purpose, Jesus calls us to see how glory is God-given and a gift of relationship.

Jesus’ relationship with his Father is one of boldness. When Mandela speaks of our deepest fear being that we are powerful beyond measure – such boldness surely comes from the Spirit. A Spirit not of fear but of love and power and self-control. Jesus knows that his power is not his own, and his authority comes from his Father. A gift. Similarly, he knows that his glory comes from his Father. A gift. So he boldly asks to be glorified together with his Father (John 17:5): glorify me in your own presence”. And he prays that he might be glorified in us, his followers (v.9-10).

But wait.
Jesus’ heart here is not just that he is glorified in us.
There is more!
He wants us to join him in his Fathers house.
This is the work he was given by his Father,
to call home and rescue the lost,
to bring them home.

It is for our sake that he consecrated himself (v.19).
He tells his Father: “the glory you have given to me I give to them, that they may be one even as we are one”.

Jesus invites us to share in this relationship, the glory of His presence, this unity found in him.
He shows us grace in this gift of his glory because he wants us to come to be with him, to see our Father face to face.

He tells his Father: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundations of the world” (17:24). 


What a beautiful relationship between Father and Son. And that we are invited to see this eternal glory, to be a part of this everlasting love!!!
I don’t know about you but I can’t wait until Jesus calls me home, introducing me to my Heavenly Father!


But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.(2 Corinthians 3:18)

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