It was Steve Lawson who once preached: We live for the glory of God or we don’t live at all. The glory of our life is delicately tied to the glory of God and when the two are severed, one cannot claim to have life at all. Such a claim can be made because true glory in life is not defined by who we are and what we have achieved, but by who God is and what He has achieved through us. If you will allow me to be a bit personal here, I want to share some of my thoughts this past month. Focused on the holidays, the middle of December begins a slowdown in blog reading that lasts until just after New Year’s Day. With that in mind and a desire to set myself up well for 2019, I decided to take the month of December off from blogging. As I take on some new projects for the upcoming year, the pause has caused me to consider what am I doing and why. Let me be clear: I am looking forward to the upcoming year and the way God has laid it out for my family and I and I am not questioning what he has defined for me but with some introspection came the question, am I doing this for me or for God. As such, I began to look at my roles and objectives and embarking into 2019 decided to define those objectives by how they glorify God. After all, I write a blog called Soli Deo Gloria and if I cannot model the attitude of God glorification then I need to change the title. There is an important conclusion that Christians need to reach: The glory of God dictates the initiation and inclination of one’s life. The Apostle Paul writes, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). This particular verse comes at the end of a passage in which Paul begins with “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything builds up. No one is to seek his own good, but the good of the other person” (1 Corinthians 10:23-24). The context of the discussion is avoiding offense to others based upon understandings of Christian liberty. He summarizes that discussion with this major point that the glory of God dictates how one lives. A right orientation towards our Lord maintains the integrity of not only our conscience but the conscience of others while preserving God’s glory. If life is defined by God’s glory, then we need to comprehend God’s glory. How does one comprehend the incomprehensible? The glory of God exists far beyond the confines of our intellectual and emotional stimulation, and thus a complete grasp of the concept is unattainable. Even defining glory is a bit difficult because it is a concept and not necessarily tangible. This does not mean that we live in complete ignorance as the Bible has much to say about God’s glory (1). By its root word, glory refers to weight (much like the way in which we value precious stones by weight). It can be used to refer to radiance, as in great beauty. A decent definition comes from John Piper who, in recognizing the limitations of man-made definitions of glory, offers this description: “The Glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections” (2). In light of Paul’s words to the Corinthians, all that we do should be dictated by God’s glory. Therefore, all that we do should point to his infinite beauty and greatness. Even the most basic tasks of eating and drinking to sustain life should be inclined towards glorifying God. What we read, how we read are defined by how it glorifies God through us. Our relationships are defined by how we glorify God in them. Every step, every decision, every interaction can only be deemed fitting or flourishing based on how it answers the question: “How does this glorify God?” In his magnum opus, Desiring God, John Piper writes that “God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him” (3). Satisfaction comes from a deeply-rooted love for God that is initiated by a response to who He is and what He does that results in imposing a desire to glorify God with who we are and what we do. Glorifying God should be the aspect that defines all that we are and all that we do, so the question is this: As we enter into a new year, how will God’s glory impact what you do this year?
(1) For a good treatment of the subject, without being overwhelmed, I would recommend the following books by Dr. Greg Harris:
(2) This definition can be found by listening to an audio message (or reading the transcript) that Dr. Piper gave by clicking here.