Psalm 96:9 “Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!”
Psalm 103:1 “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!”
Bringing glory to God in all we do is the most supreme endeavor man could ever be involved in. Making God appear as glorious as He really is should be the desire that consumes us. Our lives should reflect Him. I have been thinking about the drastic distinction this calls for. As I look around at professing believers, and even my own life, I don’t see the burning desire to “heap glory” as it were, upon the name of The LORD. The two verses cited call all creation to worship God – everything outside of man, and everything within the being of man. There is no part of anything that exists that is not obligated to give glory to God. It seems that we, at least American Christendom, have lost sight of this as a whole. We are caught up on trying to convince the lost to try Jesus so they can have better relationships, or a better future after death. We have taken the most glorious Being and demeaned Him into a slave to that only finds fulfillment in serving His created man. An example of this can be see in how the average pastor warns his people against divorce (if at all). We are told how much horror it causes in the family, and the ripple effect among relatives. How it damages the children. We’re given statistics of how many troubled teens come from broken homes, etc. Very few Christians are ever taught that marriage was instituted by God to image the love He has for His people. They’re not told that divorce makes a distorted claim about the gospel as, without saying any words, it screams that God is not faithful no matter how unfaithful we are. (I’m not going to get into the topic of divorce here, I’m just using it as an example of how people are given pragmatic and man-centered reasons to keep God’s commands.) We should do what we do to glorify The KING of kings, we should tell men to obey their Creator because He is worthy, regardless of the practical implications. This is true worship.
There is a question that was put to me about 4 years ago that challenged me… it has stuck with me ever since. I find it helpful in examining my heart – whether I am longing to glorify God or if I am serving Him because of what I can gain from Him. It short, but sharp: “If you knew you could serve God with all your hear, soul, and might all your life, and He would still send you to hell; would you still serve Him?”
Our imaging God, our worshiping Him, our prizing Him as our EVERYTHING is paramount. Why?
He is worthy!!!
- This means we are to represent God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit in the fullness of Trinitarian character and attributes revealed through the Scriptures. (Romans 11:33-36; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Revelation 5:12)
The “This” is referring to how we are to glorify God and worship Him. We worship by representing His truth – the truth of His being. We glorify Him by proclaiming what He has revealed about Himself. This glorifying worship can be in the form of music (or other art forms), literature, relationships, etc. It is the imaging of Who God that we worship and glorify Him. This is what He created us to do.
Paul tells us in Romans “from Him (Christ) and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory for ever. Amen.” The other passage that Camp lists that states it clearly is Revelation 5:12 “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing. ” Scripture is abundantly clear that we, believers, exist to glorify God. All of humanity was thrown into the bondage of sin. Man the part of God’s creation that was to image Him, has rejected being that image bearer and instead is in revolt. God has chosen to bring some men/women out of that God-hating bondage (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14) and conform them into the image of His Son. Even our sanctification is to bring glory to The Son. We are to do all we do to give glory to our Maker!
Some think that taking an attribute of God and spotlighting that is fulfilling this purpose; but it isn’t. Aaron and the children of Israel did something like that when Moses was up on the mountain and they made a calf of gold. Aaron looked at the calf and saw an attribute of Jehovah for he declared to the people, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.” We are guilty of creating our own golden calves when we take on aspect of God and present that out of context. We are to represent God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture – the God of Justice as well as the God of mercy. We are to proclaim God’s wrath along with God’s love. Painting a warped picture of God doesn’t glorify Him in the least. As His children, we should desire to represent God, by His grace, according to the fullness of His character as He has revealed Himself through Scripture.
I was listening this week to a message by John Piper and he made the point that the majority of our life is really overflow. The things we say, gestures we use, “little” decisions we make almost without even thinking… all these are done out of an overflow of our core belief structure or perspective of reality. This is why sanctification is so important. As we become more like Jesus Christ those actions that are “overflow” will be conformed into imitating HIM. So this second theses of Steve’s isn’t so much an attempt at causing us to focus on our outward actions and strive to make them conform to a standard (this is where legalism tends to find it’s nutrition), but in causing us to be changed by beholding the face of God. In other words, I would urge you that the first action of Jesus Christ to begin to follow by God’s grace, is that of always looking to The Father. Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. ” He kept His eyes on The Father, and so should we. We are conformed to Him when we are consumed with Him.
Soli Deo Gloria!!
Steve Camp has drawn up a document titled “The 107 Theses – reclaiming a reverence for God in ministry.” The document can be read in total here
My aim is to work through each of these theses statements, addressing at least one a week, interacting with the Scripture texts as well as the truth stated in order to challenge myself as well as those who read.
1. “All our works, both musical and written, must produce a high view of God-with our chief aim being to glorify God and worship Him forever. (Job 40:6-41:34; Psalm 29:1-2; Jeremiah 9: 23-24) “
This is a powerful statement to make initially, and I believe is the summation of what is to follow. Just reading the Job passage is sobering. God challenges Job and by the end we (Job and the reader) realize that man’s not as big and bad and we think we are. Part of our problem is we fail to really see ourselves in light of God and His greatness. We tend to think ourselves pretty highly when it comes to our worth. We (Christians) give lip service to God’s being God, but when it comes down to it, we have to side with Job in saying “I have heard of you with my ear…” We have heard of Him, but not really experienced HIM in the way Job was being confronted. When questioned by God, Job was left speechless. The questions God posed to Job were questions prompting Job to compare himself to the Almighty. Just the sheer power of God ought to cause us to see that we are nothing and that He is everything and to be regarded as such.
The Psalmist tells us in chapter 29 of the Psalms that we are to ascribe unto The LORD to glory due Him. Jeremiah tells us that the one thing we have God’s permission to boast in is not our wisdom or strength, but in knowing HIM. We were created for His glory, and it’s in knowing Him and reveling in that knowledge that we glorify Him. It is in realizing this purpose and in living it out that we should do all we do to glorify Him and to also produce a high view of God in the hearts and minds of others. In short – all we do is worship of The Almighty.
What I see indicative of the “church” today is just the opposite. Ministry is man-centered. Whether it be the pastor trying to generate revenue so as to build his ministerial dream, or whether he’s in the ministry “just ‘cause I love people”. The books written are intent on convincing man that God thinks him special and really wants to make great things out of him, if man will only recognize the hidden potential that is clear as the sun to God. The music becomes shallow, the Sunday sermons become dry, God is not to be found anywhere near our social clubs we call church; yet we don’t realize it because we’re to busy dancing our golden calf as our preacher yells “behold your god!”. Ministry isn’t done in worship of Jehovah, nor with the aim to generate more worship of Him. Humanity is the god most worship today, so much that we even have god bowing down to man. We love this god because He so worships us, how could we not love someone who so prizes us above all else?!
But ministry is not primarily to help people, rather ministry is to exalt God. The main purpose of Sunday morning church isn’t to evangelize the lost, the reason for worship music isn’t to try to draw the youth in hopes to keep them drug-less and pure, and the primary motivator for mission work is not because we just love people and can’t stand the thought of them not going to heave. Yes, we long to see the lost saved and thank God for each new profession on a Sunday morning. Yes, we are thrilled when youth come to worship The LORD! And Yes, we long to see God save men from hell. But these are not the primary reason we do these things. If so then we are guilty of idolatry, for we serve who we worship. Paul admonished us that whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we are to do it for the glory of God.
May God have mercy on us and grant us repentance that we may return to true worship. May the songs we sing, books we write, and ministries we develop have this as their primary aim – to glorify God and worship Him forever.