Myra Dempsey

Glory in the Ordinary

Even in life’s mundane tasks, God is shaping us into a people who beautifully reflect his glory to the world. Left to our own devices, we will never naturally drift toward holiness. We rely totally and completely on God to rewire us and re-mold us, making us more like his son, thereby making us more and more holy. Because he loves us so perfectly and immensely, there isn’t a moment of our existence that he won’t use to accomplish just that.

My laptop currently sits on our island in the middle of our kitchen, and I stand here typing while I flit between making coffee and unloading the dishwasher. When I was a kid my mom bemoaned my lack of ability to stick to one task until it was completed, a frustration I can totally empathize with now as a parent! She would tell me that I was “fluttering around” like an off-task butterfly, and I can’t help but laugh at how much that pattern persists in me today. So, as I land momentarily on this flower of writing, let me encourage you that whatever mundane task you put your hands to today, for whatever length of time, you can experience glory in the ordinary.
God’s glory is no small or trivial topic, and this article isn’t going to get anywhere near unpacking it as fully as humanly possible. But I’m thankful God gives us—his forgetful children—a vast array of gospel reminders. My husband recently defined glory in this way: “splendor, honor, fullness of, the most truthful expression of, weightiness.” We see this meaning of the word in a passage like Ephesians 1:11–14, which uses the phrase “to the praise of his glory” two separate times. The surprise to the believers is that it’s talking about us! We are meant to display God’s splendor.
If you’re like me, you may wonder, “How is my ordinary life supposed to honor the weightiness of who God is?”
Jesus Doesn’t Need Our PR
Whenever I’m confronted with difficult things in Scripture, I turn too quickly to my own fleshly solutions. If my life is meant to be to the praise of God’s glory, then I must need to step up my PR game and put a pretty picture out there for the world. Maybe God wants me to billboard my productivity or church involvement. Maybe my kids will model quick obedience or my written words will garner enough likes and shares to boost my brand of “good Christian.”
But the truth is Jesus doesn’t need our PR. We don’t craft or clean up Jesus’s image to help the world see his glory. He is already utterly glorious. As we submit to his kingship and allow his Spirit to mold us, we become more clear conduits for the glory that is already there. My best attempts at shining up the gospel apart from abiding in Christ serve more as blockages, like the clumps of mud and leaves I scooped out of our gutters this past fall. The living water of the gospel can’t flow through me powerfully when I pack in my own good works too.
When I try to give Jesus good PR by looking good on the outside but my heart is not resting in the finished work of Jesus, I subconsciously pass along a burden to those who actually need to hear Jesus say, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). His burden is easy and his yoke is light because he has done for us what we could never do for ourselves. Paul reminded the saints in Ephesus that, “God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ . . . by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:4–5, 8).
God knows we tend to drift back toward our flesh, including our self-sufficiency and works based righteousness. The Spirit inspired Paul to make the grace-based nature of the gospel plain to his audience, and we still need those reminders today.
God has graciously given us his Word and his Spirit to constantly course-correct and return us to the fountain of living water. Ad fontes, or back to the sources, was not only a necessary war cry during the Reformation, but also a needed, daily reminder for Christians in 2022.
I know I’m falling into the “Be good PR for Jesus” trap when I desperately hope people are impressed by me. Or when I walk away from an interaction thinking, “Wow, she is awesome,” rather than, “Wow, Jesus is awesome!” These moments point out to me that it’s actually my own PR that I am most concerned with, not Jesus’s, and the greatest threat to that is confession of sin.
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