“We’re honored to be joined again by author and speaker Paul Tripp on the Ask Pastor John podcast. He is the author of the book Sex and Money. And in the book, generally speaking, you write, “Life this side of eternity really is one big, unceasing glory battle” (24). Explain that whole perspective of life. What is glory? What is the battle?”
Well, the first thing I want to say about this topic is you have to talk about the way we were created. Human beings are hardwired by God for glory, for awe, to have our minds blown, our hearts expanded, to be taken beyond the normal, the mundane, to be absorbed into what is wonderful and beautiful and satisfying.
Now you see that in human beings. That is why we like the triple overtime NBA game or the seven layer mousse cake or the movie that just keeps us on the edge of our seats. Those are a created sort of glories. Animals are not like that. The penguins don’t score one another as they jump off the ice. “9.5, technical merit, but lacked artistic creativity.” The rhinoceros doesn’t say to the zebra, “Dude, where did you get that coat? I mean it is awesome. Look at the stripes.” You just don’t have that. But human beings do that.
Now the glory, that hardwiring, was meant to drive us to God in order to find our satisfaction in God — in his glory and our absorption of grace into things that are glorious. Here is the problem: We tend to replace the glory of the Creator with the glory of the creation. I tend to get satisfied with created glory, and I tend to begin to believe that my heart can be satisfied by created glory.
Here is the role of created glory: It is one big finger to point me to the only glory that will ever satisfy my heart. Earth will never satisfy me. Earth will never be my Savior. It will never calm my heart. It will never give my heart peace or life or hope or meaning or satisfaction or contentment. And so, as long as there is sin inside of me, there will be that war for what kind of glory will rule my heart. Will my heart be ruled and my life be shaped by an anxious pursuit of created glory, or will my heart find its rest in the glory of God?
Let’s take this idea down to the pavement. How do you make this point concrete?
Well, here is the easiest one: food. Food is glorious. I will confess that I am thankful for how much of the glory of God in creation is edible. That is a wonderful thing. But food is not supposed to rule my heart, and it is amazing in western culture how medical people say that the number one health issue in America is what? Obesity. Which means that this glory of edible flora and fauna that God created means too much to us, rules us too much, satisfies us too much. And so we are actually chewing our way to death. Isn’t that amazing? Food. Something as mundane as food is killing us because that glory rules us more than the glory of God.
Now who can’t relate to that? We all have gluttonous patterns in our life, because that thing is in a place it was never meant to be.