Have you discovered the purpose for your existence?
That’s a deep question, but the answer is very simple and yet infinitely complex.
I am reminded of a frequently used phrase, “God loves you and has a plan for your life”.
While that sounds good and it is true, it is not the overarching truth. If we really think about it, the subject of the sentence is, “you” and ultimately that comes from our humanistic focus on self.
God is about God. It really is all about His glory being displayed in all the universe. That sounds harsh to our western ears, because we are so consumed with our own glory and achievements. But the reality is that God is the only uncreated One, from whom all other beings owe their existence, and He is infinitely holy.
Instead of, “God loves you and has a plan for your life”, I propose that, “God’s plan for your life is the display of His glory.”
I want to try to answer two questions:
- What is the glory of God?
- How do we display the glory of God?
In Romans 11 we see a chapter that some scholars say sums up the entire narrative of the Bible. It is all about God’s plan and purpose for the people of Israel. As Paul writes verses 33 to 36 of chapter 11, it is as if he is reaching the crescendo of a symphony and flows into praise of God.
Verse 36 is the cymbal crash of the chapter, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen”.
God is the source, the means, and the goal of all things. That is so contrary to what we see portrayed in the world around us and sadly in many churches, where we ultimately see that the god that many people worship is created in their own image.
- But what is the glory of God?
John Piper said, “The glory of God is the manifest beauty of his holiness. It is the going-public of his holiness.”
The word Holy means to be separate, a distinctly different being, in a class all by Himself. The holiness of God is the foundational quality of His character.
In Isaiah 6:3, the prophet has a vision of heaven where he sees the Seraphim calling to one another above the throne of God, “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!”
The heavenly creatures, declare the holiness of God and then say that His glory is over the whole earth, not His holiness. The Glory of God is the public display of His holiness (see Psalm 19:1 and Psalm 8:1).
2. So how do we display the glory of God?
Verse 36 tells us that every believer has their source in God. So, as we live on this earth in this church age, we are part of the glory of God being displayed. We get to reflect His glory. We are designed to make the glory of God shine, making it visible to others (see Matthew 5:16 and 2 Corinthians 4:6-7). People seeing your life on display, should declare, “God is glorious!”.
Once again, we run into the idol of self and our culture of humanism. We must realize that God does not need us, but He chose to create us in His image for His glory (see Isaiah 43:7).
The Westminster Catechism begins with the question, “What is the chief end of man?”. To which they answered, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” If we really grasped this, we would realize that we have been created for so much more than we can ever imagine.
But our flesh rises up and says, “hey, what’s in it for me?” If we are honest, we might believe that God is not concerned about us, He is using us for His glory. However, when we live as God intends us to live, we are most satisfied. The answer to the first question of the Westminster Catechism is two-fold, “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.”
As we glorify God, we experience joy, the joy of living out our original design (see Psalm 73:25-26)
So, the question is, am I satisfied in God? Is He enough? Do I have full satisfaction in God, or do I chase after the things of this world? We chase after good things; friends, health, careers, family and also not good things; wealth, sex, fame, to name a few.
We chase after things, because we don’t find full satisfaction in God.
John Piper writes, “He is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”
We struggle to grasp this, because we are so easily satisfied with the things of this world.
C.S. Lewis described it perfectly, “It would seem that our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
- We display the Glory of God, when we serve gladly and give sacrificially of our time and our resources.
- We display the glory of God, when we put our agenda on hold to help someone or stop to pray for them.
- We display the glory of God when we share the Gospel with someone.
- We display the glory of God when we care for the widows and the orphans and stand up for the unborn.
- We display the glory of God when we boldly take a stand against the immoral mainstream of our culture.
These are just some of the many examples of what it means to be living for the glory of God.
What if we woke up every morning with the prayer, “Lord display Your glory through my life today?”