Although this is late in coming, (I'm sorry), the winner of the blog challenge with Dana Rausch (www.applyyourheart.com) is Marcia! Congratulations, Marcia! I know you'll enjoy the books!
First Corinthians 10:31 says to "do everything for the glory of God." Having the underlying desire to please and honor God will give life its supreme purpose and a firm foundation. When we have such a solid footing, whatever happens that brings pain, discomfort, or disappointment will not cause us to stumble in our faith and confidence.
The Hebrew definition of the verb "glory" is to "give the correct opinion or estimate of." Therefore, author Kay Arthur says, "Your life is to be lived in such a way as to reflect Him, to show the world the character of God--His love, His peace, His mercy, His gentleness. You are to live for Him, to accomplish His will. To miss this purpose is to miss fulfillment. It is to have existed rather than to have lived." (Lord, I Want to Know You, page 23.)
I have found that though many things in life bring joy--and I'm determined to appreciate and soak in every single one of them!--what brings the greatest spiritual pleasure is bringing glory to God. In those moments when I obey Him even though I'd rather be selfish, my joy is greatest. Or when I step out in faith even though I'm scared, my heart is most encouraged. Or when I see people drawn closer to Him even though I thoughts my efforts were imperfect, that is the happiest and most successful time in my spirit.
There's a deep satisfaction in knowing God was lifted up and I was a part of it! Even though I don't always obey or risk or represent Him faultlessly, God's faithfulness takes my small steps and turns them into big steps for Him. When I take off the lenses of an
But let me mention a subtle way we don't focus on giving glory to God. (Tweet that!) It's because Jesus is no longer who we're emulating but someone else.
For instance, have you ever found yourself saying or thinking something like, "I'll never be like her" or "I always want to be like him!"? I'm sure we all have and it seems like a really good thing to focus on avoiding the mistakes of some and emulating the good points of others. Even the Apostle Paul said, "Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us" (Philippians 3:17 NASB).
But if we only measure ourselves by other people, they become our "plumb line" instead of Jesus and His glory. (Tweet that!) And unfortunately, other people, even exemplary Christians, are still an imperfect plumb line. When the person we're emulating falls apart, what happens to our "always be like him"? And when the person who we swore we'd never be like, turns a corner back to the Lord, what happens to that vow? Our focus is on another person rather than representing Jesus and His glory.
The Apostle Peter has the best advice: "For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps" (I Peter 2:21 NASB).
The next time you start to say things like, "I'll never be like her," or "I'll always be like him," stop and ponder who should really be your model and "plumb line." Only Jesus offers a perfect example and will never fail before your eyes. And with Him as your focus, you'll give glory to Him.
Here's another thought from Kay Arthur: "Can you see how awesome it is to know that you have been created for God's glory? That you are to live in such a way as to give all of creation a correct opinion or estimate of who God is?"
...and not the person you are trying to be like or avoid being like.