“But all through life I see a Cross,
Where sons of God yield up their breath:
There is no gain except by loss,
There is no life except by death,
And no full vision but by Faith
Nor glory but by bearing shame,
Nor justice but by taking blame;
And that Eternal Passion saith,
“Be emptied of glory and right and name”. ”
-W.C. Smith, as quoted in The Gold Cord, p.66
These words are some of my favorite. I remember the first time I came across them. They are the sort of words that stay in my head and they often come to mind when I’m discouraged.
I have read that the author found his inspiration in Philippians 2: 1-11.
This is sort of awful and amazing. The awful part is how much we want the glory for ourselves…that as followers of Christ, it won’t work to claim any glory for ourselves.
The amazing part? We have the perfect example: Christ. He had every right to take the glory for himself. But He didn’t. He was “emptied of glory and right and name”.
The crazy part is that we can’t even claim any good we do after we repent and turn from our ridiculously selfish motives and ways of thinking and acting.
We get no credit for getting back on track and going in the right direction again!
“…for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.”
So, no credit. Emptied of glory. Which turns out to be really good for us. Because as soon as we think we did something good, we just become impossibly smug to deal with. Or so I’ve been told…