November 17, 2011

To Him be Glory

More than twenty years into being a Christian I listened to a series of eight sermons on worship. These sermons were so convicting that I wondered if I was even a Christian. The preacher emphasized that our whole purpose for being here as believers in Christ is to glorify God. 
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
Before salvation, I was totally into glorifying myself. After salvation, I fell in love with Jesus, but still had that self-interest. Giving glory to God was seldom automatic. To do it required discipline, even practice. I’d write something that put me first, then realized this was of God and edit my sentences. That still happens. Glorifying God means humility, even that I’m never on my mind.

Spurgeon says this should be the single desire of a Christian. All other desires must yield to this one. I might want prosperity, but only so far as it can be used to glorify God. I might want more grace and increased spiritual gifts, but only that I might increasingly glorify God. As the Bible says, “Whenever I speak, it is as one who speaks oracles of God; whenever I serve, it is as one who serves by the strength that God supplies — in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:11, personalized)

Today’s devotional says that I must be totally motivated by wanting the Lord’s glory. I am “of God, and through God” so must also live “to God.” This means that He is first, permeating all that I think, say, and do. My love for Him and for His glory should be the ambition of my soul and the foundation of everything I do. When self worms its way into things, then joy rapidly falls away to frustration, lost fellowship, and even sorrow.

This desire to glorify God should be and is a growing desire. At first, it was an ideal, like wanting to be thinner or wanting to be a good artist. Yet He has taught me that neither of these come as easily as the wish for them. Both involve discipline, practicing good habits, and hard work. It is the same for glorifying God. I began wanting to do it, but wanting to do it and actually doing it are not the same. As the years pass, God becomes more central, yet I have not arrived. I still like praise given to me. I still find myself robbing God of His glory and taking it for myself.

Jesus, You lived for Your Father’s glory and You live in me. When I live for my own glory, this reveals that self, rather than You, is in control of my life. May this desire for Your glory increase. Work in me that I will return to You all that You are due. In You, I live and move and have my being. All that I have and enjoy is because of Your goodness and grace. You have blessed and honored me.

God, forgive me for basking in the sunshine without giving credit to the Son who has shone so gloriously in my life. May You persist in patient grace so that I more deeply and more often spontaneously bless, honor, and glorify You.

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