Living for His Glory

Posted on October 21, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Devotional Reflections

There are many impressive characteristics of the Apostle Paul that are worth emulating–his passion, his bold witness, his persuasive wisdom, his compelling vision, etc. But one trait that has always amazed me is his phlegmatic personality. He had such a sense of Godʼs providence that nothing could shake his confidence or deter his commitment to his purpose and calling.

If I live or die, it doesnʼt really matter; if I die I get to be with Christ, but if I go on living I can be profitable to others. Never mind if the door is closed to Galatia and Bithynia; Iʼll go to Troas and trust God to lead me. So what if I get arrested or beaten, at least the gospel is proclaimed to the regions beyond. If I am weak or inadequate for the task, it just gives God an opportunity to provide His power and strength. I am content whether hungry or full, whether having abundance or in need.

Paul demonstrated flexibility. He reflected absolute confidence and faith in God who called him, but there was something else that enabled him to stay focused and persevere regardless of the circumstances. His one desire was that God would be glorified in his life. “It is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:20-21).

Living for Godʼs glory is the antidote to the self-centered life. Our fleshly nature wants to be served. The world convinces us we are entitled to the good life, that which makes us comfortable, happy, fulfilled and successful. Unfortunately, this is usually defined by materialistic and hedonistic values of the world that never fully satisfy. There are even evangelists who propagate the concept that Godʼs blessings are in terms of health, wealth and prosperity.

Because we are duped by these messages and carnal values, many Christians are disillusioned when they suffer tragedy and adversity. We find our wills resistant when God calls us to give of ourselves, embrace sacrifice and to serve others. The self- serving life is so subtle and so easily justified, but so contrary to Godʼs word and the call to discipleship as followers of Christ.

Paul had only one compelling desire in his life and that was that Christ would be glorified. Christ would be glorified only as he followed in obedience wherever God led. Whatever he ate and drank was to be for Godʼs glory. His actions, behavior, relationships, attitudes and words were to always reflect Godʼs glory. That would not be compromised by circumstances, suffering, disappointment from plans going awry.

How many times do we bring shame to Christ by a harsh word, a selfish act, decisions motivated by personal gain or disobedience to what God would have us do. Paul did not want to bring shame to Christ by doing anything that would be self-serving, even in the face of injustice and suffering. We would do well to realize life is not about us; it is about Godʼs glory!

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