How many of you like fame and adulation? Everyone? No one? Did anyone put up their hand just then? Or howabout I ask this question? Does everyone like to be told ‘well done’? Are we searching and searching, looking through the status, the fame, and friendship with others just to find out that what we’re really searching for us someone or even something to love and accept us the way that we are, and believe that the way that we are, as screwed up and messy as it can be, isn’t the way that we are going to stay? I know that question sounds like a mouthful, but just think about it for a moment. Are we living our lives in the moment, or thinking about the future? Are we focussing on our own needs (which includes the fame and adulation mind you) or are we focussing on others and what they would like to see happen in their lives? The title of the blog really hits home to me- not to us but to Your name be the glory. Have I really been living that out? If worship is a lifestyle as we have established previously, then are we really truly living as though we are not here to glorify ourselves in every aspect of our lives, but to glorify the One who gave us life and holds our thoughts, dreams, hopes, fears, despairs and everything else in His hands?
Talk about a lot of questions in just the first paragraph alone. But really, I have been mulling over some of these questions myself, and while I may not have all the answers, I still need to continue asking the questions. Because once I stop asking questions, and really digging deep into what I really believe and compare it to what the word of God says about my life and those around me, then I can kiss goodbye the extraordinary life He wants me to have, and settle for normalcy. Not that there’s anything that terrible with being normal- there are some times in our lives where the daily grind and working in a 9-5 job is all we can do at this point. But being normal at the expense of not reaching out and wondering (and sometimes actively seeking) what life would be like if we stopping glorifying ourselves in little self-indulgent ways and started giving credit, glory, wonder and praise to the One who really has helped us thus far in our lives…you get my point right?
Not to us but to your name be the glory…and if this phrase is repeated again and again in Nichole Nordeman’s recent duet with Plumb, as well as Chris Tomlin’s song 11 years ago (no they’re not the same song, just the same title), then there’s some truth to that repeated line. If we keep making ourselves great, there’s always going to be a point where we’re going to feel less than satisfied. Because frankly, and I know it’s true in my case- what I may feel on one day will change in the next. I may be satisfied to a certain point, but unless I have that new car, or that new gaming console, or my facebook friends exceeds a certain amount, or I date this person, or I decide on my own career and future, unless all these things happen for me, then I’m still going to feel empty at the end of the day.
We weren’t made to handle all the praise and adulation by ourselves. This is why in some circumstances, the fame and fortune the famous people have seem to make them crack under pressure. While we long for praise, glory and adoration, just like in both songs, both Chris and Nichole remind us of a similar theme, despite both songs written 11 years apart. We know in our heart of hearts that we can’t take anything with us beyond this life. No computer, no movies, no VCR or DVD player, no books, not even friends or family can fit in with us when we’re being layered down in our coffin. And because we know this, we can never be satisfied fully when we amass all the stuff we have. Which is why we have been called to, and called towards our maker, as we realise in our lives that the one true constant and who we can rely on is someone that can be taken into the next life- our hope and faith in Christ Jesus. And this is why we worship and declare and make His name great- that while we were still sinning, and while we continue to sin, Christ came and died, and forgave us, and He will continue to forgive us in spite of us.
Chris Tomlin released Not To Us back in 2004, and the title track had a huge impact on me then. With rocking guitars and Chris’s powerful vocal, we remember the powerful lyrics of the chorus and how whenever we achieve our heights, we ought not to point towards ourselves and believe that we had anything to do with our success, but rather point towards God whom we know has everything to do with it. That is true worship- to acknowledge in reverence and awe that everything we have, even our talents and skills, is Christ’s to give and take away anyway, so everything we have accomplished is through God and because of God as well. Similarly, Nichole Nordeman’s new track, also by the same name, is one of 6 brand new songs she has recorded (her first collection of songs released ever since 2005’s Brave), and a standout. Singing about a similar theme to Chris, we are again reminded to consistently come to our maker with a humble heart, knowing full well that what we have could swiftly be gone as quickly as it was given.
Both of these songs, though years apart, continue to impact me now. Now both Chris and Nichole are seasoned veterans within this CCM industry. And as I reflect on the title of this blog, as well as these artists and their own accomplished, I am encouraged, and hopefully inspired to live out in a way that’ll hopefully allow God to be first and foremost in my life and in that of others. Some songs impact you over the years, and both “Not To Us” (Chris Tomlin) and “Not To Us” (Nichole Nordeman) are such songs. Focussing off ourselves as we look towards Christ may not necessarily be an easy thing for us to accomplish, yet it is something we must daily work out, as we converse with the Lord and allow Him to work in us in every circumstance we find ourselves in. It isn’t because of us, any of it, and it is something we must continually believe on a daily basis. As soon as our worship and lifestyle becomes more of a show and image projection rather than just being honest before our Father, we are no longer giving God glory.
Which songs, like both “Not To Us”’s, have made you think about your relationship with God lately? Has your fame and adulation complex led you and others around you to live a life less of worship and more along the lines of self-glorification? Can you worship even if your circumstances are dire? Take time to think about these questions. Giving glory- every glory, to God and not leaving any for ourselves can take some adjusting, yet it is right and the necessary thing for us to do. Think about the questions, and hopefully they’ll encourage yourself, as well as myself, in the Christian journey. Til next time.