Yesterday, Monday, was quite the day in my life. I am sure you have Mondays that are tough also, but this Monday was exceptionally difficult. I am continually amazed at the Grace of God. His strength is truly sufficient. I have encountered more during this first year plus that I have been a pastor then I ever imagined was possible. Issue after issue causes you to live in a state of dependence upon God. At times the full weight of all of it is just incredible and I find myself crying out to God for help—which is exactly where I glorify God most.
Saturday at the Upward soccer devotions I tried to make this point with the adults present during an extremely hot NC day, but I sensed I was not getting through. Perhaps it was the sun and heat, but I am not sure. I wonder how many different ways we can say life is NOT about me until His people get it. Blank stares and empty looks communicate a lot. Eternity is right around the corner and I am not sure we, 21st Century disciples of Christ, are doing enough to be ready for it.
The fact that I am not happy in life is really not that important. What matters most is whether I am glorifying God with my life. Does He get the praise? Am I in communion with Him? Am I living in a state of dependence? Am I relying on His strength because I know in and of myself I can't do this?
A first year teacher should be able to relate to this.
What does it mean to glorify God? Perhaps I throw that word around presuming that everyone knows what I mean. To glorify speaks to the idea of: honoring; praising, extolling adoration, and magnifying; to adorn with luster; to cause dignity and worth to be ascribed to someone or something.
There are many ways I can glorify God. Hopefully my actions glorify God. One man said to me last night—you really handled that well—that brings glory to God. When a disciple of Christ yields to the Holy Spirit and relies on the Grace of God to get through something or do something tough, God is most glorified.
I glorify God through my verbal praise of Him when my heart is right with Him. When my heart is not right and I continue to attempt to glorify God with words, God knows it and I am a hypocrite.
Mark 7:6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honor me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
This is in reference to Isaiah 29 where God rebuked Israel for this same sin. Then Christ rebukes a different group of Jews for the same sin.
If I ascribe praise to God with my mouth but my heart isn't doing the same, I am not glorifying God. The heart and mouth must be synchronized. This is true everywhere and at all times. The choir, housewife, usher, teacher, ball player and all believers must be careful to keep the heart right. This is a moment by moment process in life. Proverbs 4.23 tells us to work hard at keeping our heart right for out of it are the issues of life.
I glorify God through my pre-event prayers and cries for help. During those times I ascribe to God all His attributes and remind Him of how awesome He is and how much I need Him to do something awesome in spite of me.
Please recognize that if a preacher's words spoke to you it is God who should get the glory not the preacher. It is the Holy Spirit of the Living God that makes that possible.
In my moments of anxiety I must reject that anxiety and lean upon God. Leaning upon God is called trust in the Bible.
Paul, in Ephesians chapter 1.12-14, links trusting in God and God being glorified in a most direct way:
that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory. 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14
who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
God is most exceedingly glorified each time a sinner trusts in Christ. In this chapter, Paul makes it clear that even before the foundation of the world, God ordained that He would have a people whose belief or trust in Him would bring Him renown for all eternity.
I don't just want my dependence on Christ for salvation to bring Him renown but my entire life, and if things don't change, I am going to have to keep trusting in Him for strength each and every day, and somehow I think He wants it that way.