This lesson really turns on the word "glory," so let's look into the meaning of that word.
The most common, secular meaning is "A position of exalted widely recognized importance" or "Something meriting highest praise or regard" (from Roget's Thesauraus).
A secondary meaning can be found in this definition: "Majestic beauty and splendor; resplendence: The sun set in a blaze of glory" (American Heritage Dictionary). Roget's Thesaurus calls this "Brilliant, showy splendor."
But the word also has religious meanings. It is used to refer to the manifestation of God's presence, where it is often associated with visible displays of light, such as fire or lightning.
It is also another name for the halo, the ring of light that surrounds holy figures in sacred art. So the halo is also known as "the glory." (It is also used to talk about naturally-occurring colored circles of light, such as we see around the sun or moon, for instance, when they have light clouds around them, or around the shadow cast by an airplane.)
So, in light of all this, when we speak of God's glory, we are saying the following:
- God has a widely recognized position of exalted importance.
- God merits the highest praise or regard.
- God has a majestic beauty, a brilliant splendor.
- God shines with a radiant light, a light that means He is holy.
Now review these four points, with each one thinking about how God is indeed "glorious" in that way.
Now, after doing that, say to yourself, "The glory of my Father is my own." Then expand on it:
- I have a position of exalted importance that is universally recognized in Heaven.
- I merit the highest praise and regard.
- I have a majestic beauty, a brilliant splendor.
- I am encircled with a radiant light, a light that means I am holy.
Accepting all this doesn't mean we are arrogant, because this glory is not our own doing. It is not our achievement. It is a gift that comes from God. It is not an identity we have made. It is an identity we have received. Saying "The glory of my Father is my own" is simply acknowledging the receipt of that identity. As such, it is actually a humble act. It says, "I am not in charge of my identity. God is."
To get the most out of today's lesson, we need to try to be thankful for the glory that God has shared with us. Both paragraphs speak of that:
Let us instead be thankful for the gifts our Father gave us. (1:2)
We thank You, Father, for the light that shines forever in us. (2:1)
So when you say, "The glory of my Father is my own," try to say it with a sense of gratitude. Try to say it thankfully. If you really believed that God had shared His Own glory with you, so that His glory is equally yours as well, what could you be but endlessly thankful? So say it now one last time, this time with a feeling of gratitude.