In my last article “Everyday Faith, All for His glory”, I ended with a question. In summary, my question was:
How do we live our lives all for His glory?
I believe that the answer lies in our personal commitment to increasing maturity in Christ. Some may refer to it as growing in Christ (which it is), but, for the purposes of this entry, I am going to call it “discipleship”.
Discipleship is more than a ubiquitous catchphrase used to label the curriculum of adult Sunday school and to provide some air of grownup-ness. I think this “mature-audience only” labeling is a little silly myself, I mean, are people really that uptight about telling their colleagues at work that they really enjoyed “Sunday School” this week?
Personally, it makes me think that perhaps every “Discipleship” class should begin with everyone singing “This Little Light of Mine” and “Deep and Wide”. Who knows, with just that small addition to all of the “adult” classes, they may develop a lot more disciples and a lot less haughty intellectualism.
Of course, I complain about haughty intellectualism after using the term “ubiquitous”, sounds like hypocrisy to me.
But let’s get back to the subject at hand: Living our lives all for His glory.
Let’s say that I plan on running a marathon in six months. I read all the very excellent books by authors who have successfully run a marathon, I’ve even watched a couple of marathons. Well, maybe not the whole thing, but definitely the highlights between commercials. I’ve seen the winners cross the line at the end and I have decided that I too want to cross that finish line on national TV.
Then I look at my gut and think “Man! I gotta get in shape.”
So, I get out of my recliner, grab a bottle of water, kick off my flip flops and change into some tennis shoes. I’m ready!!! So I start into a loping gallop…for about a block. Then I slow to a jog…for another block. Then I go the opposite direction for two blocks in a slow, somewhat pained walk…more like a stagger…
I throw away my completely emptied bottle (of which I poured half over my head to practice the technique of the marathon runners on TV), and sit down in my recliner, exhausted.
“Six months from now,” I think to myself, “I am going to be one lean, mean, marathon machine! Huzzah!” And I make a mental note that next week around the same time, I am going to practice again.
So once a week, every week I practice. Sometimes I don’t actually run/jog/walk/stagger/call the paramedics, sometimes I PLAN! Yes, I PLAN! I read all about other great marathoners, I look at maps of the course with the scrutiny of an ancient cartographer mapping the coastline of the new world. I know every mile and every hill and every single point where they might be filming my marathon running technique.
Then on the weeks that I am not actually running or planning, I am EQUIPPING. Yes…EQUIPPING! Within fourteen weeks of when I started training for the marathon, I am completely equipped with all of the cool spandex, rubber and plastic paraphernalia that “Runner’s World” magazine is fit to advertise. Sure, I can’t take the family out to dinner like we used to do, and sometimes I’m a little short on the garbage bill…but HEY I look good when I’m running, or planning, or whatever…
I am religious about practicing every week on Sunday. Once a week, every week on Sunday…yes, your heard that right EVERY SINGLE week, for at least and hour and a half I am running…well I spend a lot of time planning and equipping too…and, well, sometimes I spend a lot of that time THINKING! Yes, I’m THINKING about the marathon while reclining in my fine THINKING chair in my most excellent EQUIPMENT, with my many PLANS on my lap. Sometimes, I even fall asleep during that time, but I am DREAMING! Yes, I’m DREAMING about the marathon as the uncollected garbage piles up around me.
And then six months flies past, and the day of the marathon arrives…on a Saturday.
How well do you think I’m going to do in that marathon?
That in a nutshell is what I think many well-intentioned Christian’s perceive as discipleship. And it’s heartbreaking to see. Once a week they dutifully step inside their church, participate in worship, take a class, read some of the Word (hopefully) and then check their faith at the door as they exit.
But that is not the way it has to be, and that, obviously, is not the best application of a life meant all for His glory.
So, how do we begin to realize our true purpose, of living all for His glory?
It starts with our walk. Or more specifically with our W.A.L.K. and develops into that everyday faith with pleases God. I wrote an article on FaithWriters.com about my ideas on how to improve our WALK. I will share a little here and flesh the idea out in upcoming articles.
The key word in “all for His glory” that we have some measure of control over is the term “all”. By that I mean that we move past the “a day a week for His glory” mentality and expand that to an active choice to make the most of every moment of every day to glorify God.
This will probably be the point where most readers will begin shifting to other less challenging and idealistic Christian Living article. “C’mon,” you may be thinking “nobody is capable of making their every waking moment an opportunity to glorify God.”
To that I respond, “Maybe not, but would you be willing to try an hour a day?”
Or is even an hour a day to formidable? How much time do we usually spend glorifying God on a given workday? Or, perhaps even more convicting, are we spending more time in focused glorification of the newest “American Idol” or “Survivor” than we are the Creator of the Universe itself?
As an aside, I guess the other night on American Idol, several artists sang a rousing version of “Shout to the Lord” by Darlene Zschech(sp?) as a part of some fundraising thing. Several people in my church were just amazed and lauded the fact that they actually sang an overt praise song on national TV. While I thought it was great that they did, my question is “Why are you watching American Idol in the first place? Don’t you think there’s something a little questionable in the name alone?”. But I defer.
Back to the WALK, what would happen to our Spiritual maturity if for just thirty days we dedicated fifteen minutes to each of the following elements of discipleship:
Worshipping God – Pray. Praise God for the things He is doing in your life. Ask God for direction in the choices you will have. Ask God for healing for your friends, loved ones and (gulp) enemies. And perhaps the hardest of all, seek to know His will in your life and ask Him for the strength to pursue it.
Advancing God’s Kingdom – Share the Gospel, witness to a non-believer, be an ambassador for God. Write a note to a co-worker that is struggling letting them know that you are praying for them. This one is really tough for some, but I guarantee if you do it for even fifteen minutes a day, in thirty days, you will be a champion for the Kingdom.
Loving God – Show your love for God in action by moving past “whack-a-mole” piety and random acts of kindness. Instead, spend fifteen minutes actively serving your neighbor and the Body of Christ. When I get to this blog entry, I will explain the “whack-a-mole” concept a little more completely so that it makes a little more sense, until then, I highly recommend that you read Galatians 5:22-23 of the instruction guide.
Knowing God – Did you know that if you read the Bible every day for fifteen minutes, you will likely read the whole thing in a year. Try it, I did, and you have no idea what you are missing if you haven’t.
One note on knowing God…all of the components of the WALK serve to enhance your knowledge of God in so many ways. The importance of knowing God more and more everyday is that it is nearly impossible to glorify that which you do not know well enough to believe to be worthy of glory.
Well, if I have kept your attention this long, I applaud your tenacity. I’ll finish off with this…try to WALK for thirty days. Include all four components daily, and if you do not feel that you have grown in your Spiritual maturity and desire to glorify God, then I will admit to the whole world (that read my articles, that is) that I was wrong.
And I will be happy to admit my failure, because I am convinced that God will be glorified by your faithfulness. And, after all, its: