“To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 4:11, ESV)
When I was the church planter/pastor of a small congregation in Savannah Georgia, one of the songs we would sing was titled “Forever.” It was written by Chris Tomlin and the lyrics began, “Give thanks to the Lord our God and King; His love endures forever; For He is good, He is above all things; His love endures forever; Sing praise, sing praise.” Repeated in the chorus were these words, “Forever God is Faithful; forever God is strong; forever God is with us; Forever; sing praise, sing praise . . .” The words still echo in my mind on occasion.
Thinking of these words, I wonder how often we truly apply this thought in our daily lives? I think that many generally go on with life after attending a worship or praise service without truly giving any thought to God working in their lives.
This phrase, “To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” is in the context of using the gifts god has given us in ministry. One of the greatest traps into which believers, including those in church leadership positions, fall is in this area of failing to give glory to the Lord for all that He has done. It is a subtle trap that easily snaps its unsuspecting prey.
I heard a great preacher one time speaking on 2 Corinthians 12 regarding Paul’s thorn in the flesh, where after Paul asked for the thorn to be removed three times, the Lord answered with this, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9, AV). He stated that being an often-requested conference speake,r this knowledge that he was a good speaker was his great weakness. Why was it so? It was because he could start trusting in his own press rather than the Lord who empowers all effective ministry.
I will confess, that this is a trap that I have also fallen into on many occasions. It is not that my speaking skills could compare to those of that conference speaker, but I have let the positive feedback from parishioners get to my head. Here is the problem. When we steal the glory from God, we are soon to fall. The writer of Proverbs gave this warning. “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18, AV).
What is the remedy for this problem of pride? It is to sing praise from the heart. When I failed to give the glory to God, I ended up doing things in my own strength. In Peter’s exhortation, we are to minister “as of the ability which God giveth” (v9). Thus, we must serve for the glory of God in the strength that God supplies. We need to develop a mindset of praising God for everything. In doing so, we will begin to strengthen our dependence upon Him for what comes from our lips proceeds from the heart. Let us sing praise.