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Thoughts on “The Weight of Glory”

May 11, 2011

I’ve always had a hard time with the idea that we will be rewarded in heaven. It seems far too works-based, as if our salvation had anything to do with ourselves, and our good works were possible apart from Christ.  How dare we claim to deserve a reward?  And along with that came an aversion toward the idea of desiring pleasure in heaven. I mean, of course there is pleasure in being with God for eternity, but to desire that, to hold that pleasure at the highest place of hope, would be foolish, right?

Well, this morning I read C.S. Lewis’ incredible essay titled “The Weight of Glory.”  He argues that the desires we have here on earth – desires for beauty, music, art, etc. – are mere shadows of the desire for which we were created, a desire to see the glory of Christ.  But we have never actually experienced that glory, nor will we this side of heaven.  It is like a memory, something about which a thought can be conceived but not grasped, and can easily lead to its pursuit via earthly pleasures.  Lewis writes, “We cannot tell it because it is a desire for something that has never actually appeared in our experience…. These things – the beauty, the memory of our own past – are good images of what we really desire; but if they are mistaken for the thing itself, they turn into dumb idols, breaking the hearts of their worshipers.”

I associate this pursuit of earthly pleasure with the pursuit of heavenly pleasure.  It feels selfish.  After all, isn’t humility the greatest goal?  Aren’t we to make much of Christ and nothing of ourselves?  To seek this ultimate pleasure would violate that most holy and righteous pursuit, wouldn’t it?  Not so, says Lewis.  The ultimate pleasure is to hear these words – what Lewis calls the “divine accolade” – “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  He writes, “Apparently what I had mistaken for humility had, all these years, prevented me from understanding what is in fact the humblest, the most childlike, the most creaturely of pleasures – nay, the specific pleasure of the inferior: the pleasure of a beast before men, a child before its father, a pupil before his teacher, a creature before its Creator.”

Those simple seven words are incredibly profound.  They embody the entire idea of being glorified by God in heaven, of taking the ultimate pleasure in him.  But the glory is wholly dependent on God.  It is the destination toward which we have been journeying yet can never attain.  “The door on which we have been knocking all our lives will open at last.”

The “crown” that we will receive in heaven is nothing less than God’s bestowal of his glory upon us (1 Peter 5:4).  It’s not so much a reward as it is the utmost act of grace and mercy.  Our natural response to this earth-shattering act is pure delight.  And it is that delight that we seek.  It is that pleasure for which we search and will ultimately receive.

One Comment leave one →
  1. matt vest permalink
    May 11, 2011 3:14 pm

    That was some good stuff there my friend!!!! I agree with every word!!!

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