God is honored when we do things the way He wants them to be done. How do we know how He wants us to live? God’s Word. The Bible. His Word is His will. It is never God’s will for us to disobey Him. If you are wondering how to bring some area of your life in-line with God’s glory, make sure that you are fulfilling what He has said about it.
We honor God when we make His priorities higher than our own. This is Paul’s point v. 33. He doesn’t seek his own advantage but whatever would be advantageous to God’s goals, namely, “that they may be saved.” He oriented his personal preferences around what’s best for the kingdom of God. Jesus said it, Seek first the kingdom of God (Matt. 6:33). Phil. 3:7, whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. To live to God’s glory is to ask, what is required of me to accomplish God’s goals in the world, in my life, in my family, in my church? A godly man or woman then sacrifices so that God’s goals are accomplished.
This is what sends missionaries around the world, this is what finds ministries, this is why God’s people give so much time and effort. We want what God wants and everything is submitted to His goals. He is honored when we do.
Would you agree that eating and drinking are pleasurable activities? With the exception of liver and beets, I would say yes. How do we enjoy God’s good pleasures on earth to His glory? All holy pleasures are actually expressions of God’s glory to us. God gave us senses that correlate perfectly with the pleasures this world has to offer. We taste and touch and hear and see and smell, they create happiness and wonder in us.
We bring glory to God when we take the excitement the pleasure creates and turn it into praise to God. This praise may be thanksgiving, Thank you God for this good pleasure. It may be something about God the pleasure communicates; Psalm 19, the heavens declare the glory of God. Seeing the heavens is a theological experience that I can spiritually understand and praise Him for. God, You are big. Beautiful. Awesome. Wonderful. Amazingly brilliant to create. Whatever.
Here’s the key. When we experience pleasure like an atheist, we experience for its own sake and don’t bring God into the experience. Don’t be an atheist with pleasure; be a theist. Give God glory by enjoying the pleasure for God’s sake. C.S. Lewis said, Praise is joy’s appointed consummation. We instinctively want to praise in the experience of pleasure. Don’t praise the artist or the poet or the lover, praise God for them! He is glorified when we do.
Finally, we glorify God when we live for Him NOT for what He can do for us. The First command is to love the Lord our God with all our heart. We love Him for Him. When someone feigns interest in us or is nice to us but we sense an ulterior motive, we don’t like that. We feel used. We feel played.
How often God must feel that way? We want the blessings but not the Blessor. Our interest in God is primarily what God can do for us.
If God never did a thing for us, He would still be worthy of all our love and all our lives. Love Him for Him. Serve Him purely for the glory and wonder of who He is. He delights in us when we do.
His way. His goals. His pleasures. His person. Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
© 2010 Steve DeWitt. You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that: (1) you credit the author, (2) any modifications are clearly marked, (3) you do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, (4) you include Bethel’s web site address (http://www.bethelweb.org/) on the copied resource.