Short of the Glory

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.

We’ve all been there. Someone asks our opinion and we want to be truthful but we also don’t want to offend.

The scenario is cliché on sitcoms: The wife asks the husband, “How do I look?” And the husband is in a quandary because he doesn’t know how to answer: “Should I tell her the truth? Or should I just be nice?”

What is the answer? Perhaps there isn’t just one answer. But if we are “full of the Spirit” at a given moment, I think we’ll have the “right” answer for each individual situation. But, in reality, we all “fall short of the glory” (Rom 3:23) because, honestly, we Christians are not always “full of the Spirit”, not always walking in love, not always “full of grace and truth”. So let’s extend grace for one another when we don’t get the balance between grace and truth just right.

I remember hearing a teaching on the “right word” at the wrong time is a wrong word. Some of us with the gift of discernment, can see clearly the problem at hand, but we might lack the mercy in delivering that insight. Sometimes, the Lord just wants us to say it, and sometimes He just wants us to pray it. I admit I have gotten this wrong.

On the other hand, some of us with the gift of mercy, may not ever confront a glaring problem. And the problem therefore endures. In the end, was it effectively mercy? It is the truth that sets us free!

Jesus, Whom we should seek to emulate, always had the right answer at the right time with the right motive. But we fall short. We don’t always get it right. Yet our great God is able to use even our weaknesses.

On the other hand, sometimes we do get it perfect! I know there are times when I happened to be full of the Spirit that my response couldn’t have been more right. And then there are other times when I wasn’t feeling particularly holy, but because God wanted something done and I happened to be there, the Spirit just took over.

I remember a situation where someone had verbally assaulted me on a stand for righteousness, and the Spirit of God just rose up in me and I quoted a Scripture very forcefully. Now, it wasn’t even like my normal self to do this. I usually try to be more gentle in speaking the truth. But, at that time, I knew it was the Spirit moving in me to deliver that word. The authority in my voice shocked even me!

Then again, there have been times when I’ve been restrained by the Spirit of God from saying anything at all.

In evangelism, there’s been many times when I’ve thought afterward, “If only I had said this… or said that…” The Lord can use even our feeble efforts, as he used a few loaves and fishes to feed multitudes. Our Father knows our hearts for winning the lost and He knows how to undo even our shortcomings. Sometimes I think it works like the proverbial “good cop, bad cop”. God can send someone else along to balance us out. But that shouldn’t be used as an excuse to stop growing in grace and truth!

When I was in deep darkness, the Lord sent many saints my way. Some of them were sweet and gentle and some downright angry! Once a man yelled at me: “Get out of my store and don’t ever come back!” His tirade rather shocked me because I was only talking about “world peace”. I didn’t realize I was involved in something sinister. (See my testimony.) His response may have seemed to some very unchristian, even downright mean, but it was what I needed at the time. I wondered what I had said to elicit such a vehement response. After all, I just wanted “world peace”. I was too naïve to know the “chant” I was using was actually calling on demons! That man’s response was exactly what I needed at that time. It made me re-assess my path.

So God can use all sorts of imperfect beings to bring us to His Perfect Self. He gets all the glory because we certainly, if we are honest with ourselves, are short of the glory! The good news is that He is changing us from glory to glory as we spend time in His Presence. (2 Cor 3:18) We saints are all destined to be like Jesus! Glory HalleluYAH! And guess what? We can’t take credit for even that because it’s His work in us! He is the Potter and we’re just lumps of clay! But glory! What the Master can do with us is just amazing, amazing grace… and truth!

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