Seeking to take God’s glory is the first sign of corrupt self-love, and self-idolatry.
Our Pastor told a story on Sunday about a time when he and his wife were visiting his wife’s elderly and ailing father. During their visit the elderly man went on and on about a pie that his other daughter had made for his last birthday. It was the best pie he’d ever had. Not even his late wife had ever made a pie that good. The old man said that he sure hoped that daughter made another pie for his next birthday. When the visit was over, as they walked to their car, our Pastor remarked to his wife, “Dad sure liked the pie that your sister made. We’ll have to remind her to make another one this year.” His wife replied, “I was the one who made that pie.”
There aren’t many people who can’t relate or can’t imagine what it would feel like to hear someone else getting the glory for something that you’d worked so hard to make perfect. Sure it was just a pie. But regardless of how big or small the affront, our nature reacts.
Here’s my point. Taking God’s credit is what atheists spend a life-time practicing. And then, they comment on how inappropriate it is for God to express anger at those who reject Him. They call Him small minded. They call Him petty. Atheists spend a great deal of time mocking the God they don’t believe in.
“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” That is a theme that is found from the beginning to the end of the Bible. So why is God such a stickler in this area?
. Could it be that those who are proud have nothing to be proud of?
. Could it be that there is nothing for which they should be taking credit?
. Could that be why it’s such an offence to say, “By my might and by my power I have made myself great?”
. Could it be that our Heavenly Father is so upset because it is precisely that kind of thinking that will ensure that we spend eternity in the total absence of His Love?
Consider the following:
. You and your friend frame houses. Someone remarks to your friend what a great number of houses he’s completed in the last year and you hear him say, “I did it pretty much all by myself. I’ve got another guy helping but most of the time it’s me doing the work.”
. Your team wins the game and a teammate tells the reporter, “They couldn’t have done it without me.”
. Someone remarks what good children you and your husband have. He leans over and whispers, “It’s because of me. My wife does next to nothing around the house.”
. When you were in grade five, you and your little brother wanted to surprise your parents when they got home from work. The two of you wash the dishes and sweep the floor. When mom comes through the door you hear your brother tell her, “I did it all by myself mom. Bret didn’t help me at all.”
. You walk into the office just in time to hear your boss congratulating a co worker for an ingenious plan that will save the company a pile of money. The plan was yours.
. You’re lying on the grass outside of a burning house. You’re fighting for breath after having just made it out with a child in your arms. The firefighters are holding an oxygen mask to her face. Had you not gone into the house once again, she would have never made it out alive. You hear another man tell reporters that what he did was nothing special. “When it comes to a child’s life, I had no choice but to go in and get her.”
. You and a colleague are close to finding a cure for lymphoma. The two of you have worked on this project for ten years. You find the faulty gene and you go to the press with a story that makes it look like you and you alone have made this huge step.
It is God who brought the universe into existence. It is God who set every single constant and value just so. It was God who brought about the mechanism for life to come about on earth. All this and much more is enough to point the open-minded to His existence. Atheists block all this out and instead of humbly acknowledging their gratefulness and indebtedness, they ignore God, reject His presence in their life, and tell people that they've done it all themselves.
“God? Who’s God? Never heard of Him. As far as I know, He doesn’t even exist.”