Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Glorifying God in Our Lives

If the chief goal humans is to glorify God and enjoy him forever, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism has expressed, then human beings ought to be in the look out for reasons for glorifying God. God's glory revealed in nature is indeed the most explicit stimulus for glorifying God. A second realm which impels us to praise God is what he has done in our lives. Put it another way, praise of God happens when we acknowledge what God has done in our lives.If that acknowledgement doesn't happen we will be singing praises to ourselves or to anything other than God.

The Psalmists pour out praises to God because they maintained hearts of thankfulness to God. For example, the psalmist who penned Psalm 116 says, “How can I repay the LORD for all his goodness to me? I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the LORD” (Psalms 116:12-13). In the Bible, the cups are described in terms of what they are made of or what they contain. For example, a silver cup is one made of silver while a wine-cup is that contains wine. In this verse the cup of salvation is a cup that is filled with God's acts of salvation or acts of deliverance. The Psalmist will lift up a cup that is filled with God's acts of deliverance that he has received in the past. That is his way of “repaying the Lord” for all that good things he has done for him. John Piper is credited with the alliteration “an attitude of gratitude.” This is what exactly we are talking about. Lifting up the cup of “salvation” is to maintain a heart of gratitude.

However, many times we are not able to lift up a “cup of salvation” because we are not able to ascribe to God what he has done in our lives. God doesn't get credit for what happens in our lives because we have trusted in our own strength and kept God away from our lives. This is a dangerous independence from God which impoverishes our spiritual lives. This is the tragedy of the modern secular mind which exalt human effort to such a level that there is no room for God in our consciousness.
Our culture think about God only when something goes wrong. When calamities strike, then we tend to ask where is God and why God allows such things. Until then we don't normally talk about or mention God. God doesn't normally feature in modern conversations.
However, it is important for us to lean on the strength and wisdom of an almighty God. This is what the wise sage of the Book of Proverb admonishes. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil” (Proverbs 3:5-7).
This passage teaches us some very important truths. First of all, it is to disown our autonomy on our lives. “Lean not on your own understanding” means to understand the limits of human reason and ability. Eugen Peterson (in The Message) paraphrases this verse as, “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don't try to figure out everything on your own.”

Some people approach God as the last resort. They have tried everything and failed. These are the people who don't like to bother God with things they can do themselves. The other group is those who totally ignore God in their lives. However, both these are wrong. The right approach would be to depend on God for everything and recognize that we can do nothing without him. This absolute dependence on God leads us to ascribe God glory in our lives. That is to give up our autonomy on our lives and give God the control.

Lives that recognize God in their lives and admit their absolute dependence on him would have plenty to praise him daily. Such lives can lead lives that “glorify God and enjoy him forever.”

The Prodigal and the Party Pooper!

Are you a party pooper? Hold on! In order to clear the air, let me first talk about a party pooper that I found in the Bible. The story...