This blog is an early preview for a book I am currently writing about motivations for ministry. Below is an excerpt from chapter 1.
Sometimes we overcomplicate the Christian life. We develop formulas, lists, and philosophies, all of which may be good and helpful; but there is an overriding purpose to our lives, and it’s quite simple—do all to the glory of God.
Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.—1 Corinthians 10:31
The word glorify means “to reveal or make clear.” In simple terms, you and I were created for the express purpose of showing or revealing God more clearly to others. By our lives and very existence He should be seen more clearly—even magnified—in others’ eyes. There is no higher motivation or purpose in all of life.
What a different and contrasting purpose than what we see in modern-day pop-culture. The message of the world is simply, “Glorify self!” The secular world idolizes mankind, magnifies the pleasure of man, and promotes the worship of self.
Romans 1 describes the godless early Gentile world—a culture strikingly like our own.
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.—Romans 1:21–23
Today’s world’s system—from the educators, to the Hollywood producers, to the fashion designers, to the musicians—is not concerned with glorifying God at all. In fact, as a whole, they are “willingly…ignorant” of God (2 Peter 3:5).
Even in Christian ministry, there is much popular teaching about promoting self, building brand, and the development of personal platform.
But for those of us who know God, who have received Christ, our hearts’ desire and purest passion should be to glorify Him—to make the Lord Jesus Christ more clearly known before men.
When God’s Glory Motivates Us…
There is a difference in how we approach ministry when our highest motivation is God’s glory. Below are some earmarks of ministry carried out to the glory of God.
We strive for excellence. Our God is excellent and worthy of our most excellent efforts. When His glory drives us, we dig deeper and strive to give Him our utmost in every area of life and service.
We live with integrity. When we care about God’s glory, we strive for a deep level of authenticity in all of life, not just the visible aspects. God sees every part of our hearts and lives, and His glory calls us to absolute integrity and sincerity. His glory prohibits us from separating our lives into public and private—into ministry and non-ministry, holding each area to a different standard. God’s glory calls us to integrity.
We care about the details. Remembering His glory changes how we handle the “insignificants.” God’s glory will motivate us to pay attention to details we might dismiss were it only our own names at stake. What’s “good enough” for me, may not be “good enough” for God’s glory.
We are willing to be consumed for Christ. John the Baptist’s highest ambition was to expend his life for Christ’s glory. In John 3:30 he said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” John made Christ’s magnification his life mission, and he was satisfied by its completion. When God’s glory becomes our motive—our passion—it is a joy to expend our lives for Christ alone.
All to the Glory of God
What is your highest motivation? What drives you right now? When God examines your heart motives, does He find first and foremost a deep desire for His glory?
You were created for His glory, and you’re never more fully alive than when you are living to bring Him glory. And He is never more fully pleased than when your life is truly glorifying to Him!
This article originally appeared on the Pastor’s Perspective.