By Pastor Nate Green
Throughout human history every person has asked the following questions:
What is my purpose? Why am I here?
The Westminster Shorter Catechism answers this question with:
The chief end of man is to glorify God and, and to enjoy Him forever.
This statement sums up what the Bible teaches about our purpose, but we have to dig deeper into God’s Word in order to know how we must live in order to bring God glory and enjoy Him.
Let’s start by acknowledging God’s glory is unparalleled – there is no one like Him. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He is Creator of all things (Gen. 1, John 1:1-18, Col. 1:15-20).
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and sky above proclaims his handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Revelation 4:11).
How in the world do we approach this King of Glory? We all far short of the glory of God and naturally want to hide from Him when our sin in exposed in His glorious, holy light (Rom. 3:23, Gen. 3).
Jesus made a new and living way for us to come near to God (Hebrews 10:19-23) and we have seen His glory in the face of Christ (John 1:14, Colossians 1:15).
What’s amazing is that we are to reflect God’s glory, never for the purpose of bringing glory or attention to ourselves, but to point others to Him. Somehow God allows our lives to bring Him glory (wow!!) .This is what Jesus implied in Matthew 5:16, “In the same way let your light shine before men so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” And again in Philippians 2:15, “…that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in a the midst of a crooked and twisted generations, among whom you shine as lights in the world…”. Both of these passages are within the context of living under God’s authority in obedience to Christ’ specific commands.
When we live in obedience to Christ, we bring God glory.
God’s glory will never change, God is immutable, unchanging. But our knowledge of His glory is ever increasing as we come to know Him. Habakkuk 2:14 promises that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Our lives can either reflect his glory, or not, based on our obedience to Him. Our greatest joy and delight is always found when we live out this purpose of glorifying God.
I remember one of my philosophy professors at Moody Bible Institute asking our class if everything in our lives was meant to bring glory to God or not. I lifted my hand and said, “Yes! Everything in our lives should be for His glory!” He then began asking further questions of the class, “Does listening to secular music glorify God?” “Does tying your shoes glorify God?” The more I thought about these things the more I realized that everything in our lives should be processed through this lens. Tying shoes is a mundane task (that’s why I wear slip on’s), but the ability to tie one’s shoes is a glory to God moment because he gave us that capacity. Think about it; If your heart is beating and your lower back is working and your fingers are able to tie knots because your parents (or cousins) taught you how to do it and your brain is able to process all these steps, praise God! A lot goes into tying one’s shoes.
One of the things I love about God’s glory is that His glory is sanctifying and changing us through the person of Jeus Christ. “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18)
To God alone be the glory! Warning: God judges those who seek glory for themselves as well as those who give glory to what is created rather than the Creator:
“I am the LORD; that is my Name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols” (Isaiah 42:8).
“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Romans 1:22-25).
This whole idea of trying to steal the glory that only belongs to God was birthed in Satan himself when he tried to take God’s place and exalt himself. As a result, he was cast down and forever cursed (Isaiah 14:12-15, Ezek. 28:11, Jude 1:6). The original sin in the garden of Eden was birthed out of rebellion and an unholy desire to usurp God’s authority and position.
God opposes the proud and those who seek to exalt themselves (Matt. 23:13, James 4:6). This principle is clearly seen in the life of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon:
“All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, and the king answered and said, “Is not this great Babylon, which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?” While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, and you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. And you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will.” Immediately the word was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven from among men and ate grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers, and his nails were like birds’ claws” (Daniel 4:28-33).
We also see this principle at work in king Herod’s life:
“On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them. And the people were shouting, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!” Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last” (Acts 12:21-23).
In the immediate chapters following this story about king Herod, in Acts 14, a crowd began to “worship” Paul and Barnabas after seeing God do miracles through them. In contrast to king Herod, Paul and Barnabas were so grieved at the improper placement of this glory being given that they tore their clothes and cried out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and al that is in them” (Acts 14:8-18).
Only God deserves glory. The following song expresses these truths well.
All is For Your Glory
(by Laura Hackett Park and Lisa Gotshall)
There’s just one chief end to man’s purpose
One main reason for existence
All man’s vain and high ambitions
Will one day be brought low
To treasure You above all others
To love You like we love no other
Your greatness soon will be uncovered
And all the earth will then know
For You alone will be exalted in that day
Worthless goals will be exposed
As idols that we’ve made
For You alone will be exalted in that day
You’ll be seen as rightful King
And from our hearts we’ll say
All is for Your glory
All is for Your name
All is for Your glory
That in all things You would have the first place
That in all things You would have preeminence
So put me anywhere just put Your glory in me
And I’ll serve anywhere just let me see Your beauty
Catch me up in Your story
All my life for Your glory
My God my joy my delight