I grew up in the church. From cradle to pew to stadium seating, I’ve been in church my whole life. I’m quite comfortable around church culture, but as comfortable as I am there, I try not to stay there. Because let’s be honest: church culture isn’t really relevant to the rest of the world.
But even when I’m trying to expand my boundaries and get out of the church mentality, I sometimes slip back into a nasty habit of using common religious words and phrases that confuse people. It’s the same with any other culture. Groups of like-minded (or not-so-like-minded) people who spend a lot of time together create words and phrases that mean something to them, and when they try to communicate outside their little comfort zones, no one else understands.
I’m a copywriter for a marketing team. I and the other writer in the team often discuss the merits and disadvantages of comma usage, and we quite frequently use terms like nonessential and clause and reductionist. And if you aren’t a writer, or if you aren’t interested in grammar at all, those won’t mean anything to you.
It’s the same with the church. Baptism by emersion. Sanctification vs. Justification. Passing the plate. Fellowship. Giving your heart to Jesus. Terms and phrases like these make little sense outside the church.
Today’s verse is Psalm 143:11.
For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
I’ve always loved the phrase,For the glory of your name. There’s just something moving about it. And it fits nearly any situation that you’re going through.
If you’re happy, it’s for God’s glory. If you’re sad, it’s for God’s glory. Whether you’re gainfully employed or not, it’s for God’s glory. And so on and so forth. But let’s be real about it; no one really knows what it means. It’s just one of those churchy phrases that is great to tack on to any sentence to make you sound like a better Christian.
What does it mean to live for God’s glory? To suffer for God’s glory? To rejoice for God’s glory? What is glory?
Glory is placing value on someone or something by your actions.
If you own an expensive vase or a rare portrait, you’re going to want to display it in a way that brings attention to it. You’re going to want set it up in a place where the light is just right, where people see it and recognize how priceless it is. That is bringing glory to that object.
If you are given the opportunity to host a famous person in your home, you would give him the best room, feed him the best food, make sure he had everything he needed. And you would introduce him to people with the utmost respect, making sure they know who he is and what he means to you. That is bringing glory to that person.
We don’t hesitate to bring glory to priceless objects or famous people. But when it comes to bringing glory to God, we usually find something else to talk about.
Maybe we just don’t know how. Because it’s easy to bring glory to something other people can see. It’s easy to bring glory to a person who can prove their great works. But bringing glory to God is kind of a different story, isn’t it? How can you glorify Someone who nobody can even see? You can’t very well put God on a shelf and shine a light on Him. You can’t very well take Him to a party and introduce Him to all of your friends. Not literally at least.
But what you can do is recognize Him as your motivation.
That’s what it means to live for God. That’s what it means to glorify God with your life. If He is your motivation, your purpose, your reason for living, that brings glory to His name. That makes people stop and listen up because if you can live and suffer and rejoice and maintain that God is your motivation for living the way you do, people will pay attention.
Some people live for money and material wealth. Some people live for people, social interaction and political influence. Some people live for themselves. But if your driving factor for living is give God the credit for everything, not only will other people notice a difference in you, but you will also experience a satisfying life. Because all the money and all the friends and all the selfishness in our culture can’t bring you peace like God can.