Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31) Sounds good; most Christians amen it. But how do you do it?
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1 NIV 1984)
That’s it. My life is lived all for him when all of my life is like a living sacrifice. I display his supreme worth when I am willing to sacrifice to God all the other categories of my life; to submit them to him; to orient my priorities around the goal of making much of him in every category.
This God-centered, God-glorifying orientation is the restoration of what the fall corrupted in us. It is how we will live into eternity. In this life, we will do this imperfectly because we still have indwelling sin, but the capacity to do it is ours by the Spirit of God. As Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in Thee.”
Here is why “do all to the glory of God” is so critical to true Christianity. Worship is the uniting center for all of life.
There is no other priority that can claim this. Experience is great and important but not the center. Serving Christ is high priority but not the center. Worship is the uniting principle of all of life. In a sense, everything is theology. It is all about God. How?
God is honored when we do things the way he wants them to be done. This is called obedience. 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 online with God’s glory, prayerfully seek to live that category according to how God has said for it to be done. God’s way.
We honor God when we make his priorities higher than our own. This is Paul’s point. Jesus said, Seek first the kingdom of God. (Matthew 6:33) In Philippians 3:7 Paul said, Whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. To live to God’s glory is to ask, “How can I do my part to accomplish God’s goals in the world, in my life, in my family, in my church?” A godly man or woman then pursues those goals and submits the lesser desires to fulfill that greatest one.
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? When we feel pleasure, we are feeling inside an expression 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 that pleasure creates in us 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.
Here’s the key. When we experience pleasure like an atheist, we experience it for its own sake and don’t bring God into the experience. Don’t be an atheist with pleasure, be a theist. Be a Christian. Give God glory by enjoying the pleasure for God’s sake. C.S. Lewis said, “Praise is joy’s appointed consummation.” 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 commandment is to love the Lord our God with all our hearts. 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.
I wonder how often God must feel that way. We want his blessings but not necessarily him. Our interest in God is primarily what God can do for us.
If God never did a thing for us, never sent Jesus, never provided salvation, never provided eternal life, never sent his Spirit, never gave us the Scriptures or church, never provided another sunset or friendship or strawberry pie—if God had never done anything for us, he would still be worthy of all our love and worship. He is God. Love him for him. Serve him purely for the glory and wonder of who he is. He delights in us when we do.
How do we turn our whole house into a living room of worship? His way. His goals. His pleasures. His person. This is how we live our lives to the glory of God. Whether we eat or drink, sing or pray, serve and love, or whatever we do, let’s 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.
Additional Scripture quotations taken from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
©2012 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 website address (www.bethelweb.org) on the copied resource.
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