Read His Words Before Ours!
I can only imagine the atmosphere in the room as George Frideric Handel finished his masterpiece, “Messiah.” Did the last note resonate in the room, slowly reverberating into silence? Was there a hushed reverence filling the space?
Whatever the moment was like, something caused Handel to pick up his writing utensil and inscribe S.D.G. on the page in front of him.
Soli Deo Gloria.
These three Latin words translated into English mean “to God alone the glory.” Handel wrote the music for “Messiah” in 1741. Literal centuries later, people still flock to venues to hear his work played in person.
Not only has his work endured through the years, but it was also written with remarkable speed. Handel wrote the music in 24 days. My last month has been quite busy, but I don’t anticipate any of my activities will be recognized by the masses hundreds of years later.
What astounds and humbles me about Handel and the details of writing the “Messiah” masterpiece is that Handel intentionally chose to give the Lord the glory. While odds were incredibly high Handel had no idea how his artistry would impact the world, in the completion of his work, he focused his eyes upward rather than inward.
To God alone the glory. Soli Deo Gloria.
I may never accomplish anything even remotely rivaling the work of Handel, but I would be amiss in thinking my own renown is ever the purpose for my actions. My glory, or the perceived impact of my actions, is not to be my focus.
Martin Luther also sought to challenge the mindset of striving for personal glory by arguing the cross of Christ is of the utmost importance.
1 Corinthians 2:2 sums up the mindset we are called to in Christ.
“For I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified.” (Amplified Bible)
Luther argued embracing the cross of Christ, rather than attempting to appropriate some of Christ’s glory for ourselves, is key to living a life truly pointing to Jesus. When we lose sight of the cross and the crucifixion of Christ, we lose sight of the reality of our Christian walk.
Christ crucified is the forgiveness of our sins,
the demonstration of His sacrificial love,
the invitation to surrender to His Lordship,
and the challenge to become more like Him.
To Him be all the glory.
If I live with the mindset of riding on the coattails of His glory in my life, I miss out on truly knowing Him, and we, as a church, lose that which makes us salt and light in today’s world.
So what does this look like in our day-to-day life?
I encourage you to consider how your own endeavors, be they monumental or mundane, can communicate the forgiveness, the sacrificial love, and the surrender and transformation made possible through the cross of Christ.
How can your own endeavors, be they monumental or mundane, be carried out to the glory of God alone?
And what does it look like in my life?
As I sit here with my laptop nestled on my lap, my coffee cup sitting on the table nearby, and raindrops tapping on the window behind me, I think it looks like thanking Him for His goodness and faithfulness in allowing me the opportunity to write.
It is praying before my fingers touch the keyboard, asking for His wisdom and direction in crafting the message. It is in writing the words and releasing them to Him for His use, however He desires.
It looks like delighting in the little ways the Lord has shown His presence in my day-to-day life: a hot cup of coffee and a refreshing spring rain. It is serving my family with a sacrificial love and modeling a life of looking to Him. It is finding my value and identity in who the Lord says I am and being obedient to His leading in my life.
And maybe, just maybe, that’s exactly what Handel felt as those last notes filled the air. An awareness He was made for such a time as this, and regardless of who would hear his music in the future, the One for whom it was truly written had already heard the melody dance through the vaults of heaven.
To God alone the glory.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!