Psalm 67:1-7 (ESV)

[1] May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face to shine upon us, Selah

[2] that your way may be known on earth,

your saving power among all nations.

[3] Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

[4] Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you judge the peoples with equity

and guide the nations upon earth. Selah

[5] Let the peoples praise you, O God;

let all the peoples praise you!

[6] The earth has yielded its increase;

God, our God, shall bless us.

[7] God shall bless us;

let all the ends of the earth fear him!

The most natural thing, in the heart of man in its theological and philosophical meanings, is to desire to be seen, to be influential, to be appreciated, to win, to be promoted, to be considered better than one’s peers, to be the best… . There may be ways in which such desires are not wrong in and of themselves, but it is not very likely that we can maintain them in innocence for very long. We want to be first, even if that means that God would have to come down and surrender up first place to us. We don’t like to admit that we sinfully desire first place, but we do.

And this is not restricted to the unregenerate or the immature or the laity. Pastors and other Christian leaders want their blogs to be read, their sermons to be listened to and their opinions to be valued, their plan to be used and appreciated. This can be defended on many levels.

But pastors and those who look to them for examples, need to admit that many times we do things to be seen because we are selfish for the spotlight, desirous to be applauded, popular or famous. Pastors want to be seen with their famous friends. They want people to know that they have famous friends. They will ignore the lesser lights for the sake of hobnobbing with the elite. This is natural. And it is sin. Pastors are not the only ones to do it of course, but at least they set the example for others.

In Psalm 67 the Psalmist pleads for grace – so that God’s way would be known in all the earth. There probably is not a true believer on the planet anywhere who would not truly pray this from the heart. But it needs to be a daily thing. The sinful nature dies hard and that sin that fosters all the rest, selfishness, will find a thousand ways for us to speak of giving God glory while at the same time making a name for ourselves. We want God to be praised until it means that we will not. We want Jesus to be seen until we see that seeing Him means not seeing us. This is what we must excise out of our thinking and behaviour. This is what the Psalmist is getting at in Psalm 115:1

Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,

for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!

It is not enough for us to desire God’s glory. The desire for God’s glory is to be accompanied by the desire for us not to get it. We should run away from the thought of us being glorified as much as we run toward the desire for God to get it. It will not happen easy. But it can happen if we truly ask the God who shares His glory with no one to accomplish it in us.

There are ways to test whether we truly desire God to be seen and not us. 1) Drop the phrase “my good friend” out of your vocabulary when speaking about anyone who is revered by the people you are talking to. 2) Do good and do not let anyone know. 3) Get off Facebook for a month and see how you do. 4) In a debate about something of interest to you, just listen.

There are no doubt more. We want God, not us, to be seen and glorified. Let us do all that we can to ensure that that is what happens in all that we do. He alone is worthy and He is not pleased when we seek prominence, no matter how well hidden it is beneath the veneer of humility.