I don’t think anything glorifies God more than when we, his children, are completely enamored by Him. I am also convinced that nothing in this world is remotely as exciting, necessary, or important as turning the gifts, talents, and desires God has given us back into praise.
Nothing is arbitrary- God places desires in our heart for a reason. God gives us talents and abilities for the sole purpose of glorifying him, and when we pursue the desires of our heart, sharpen our talents, and allow our gifting’s to shape how we minister and interact with one another, we are showing God that we appreciate what he’s given us. In that, we ascribe worth to Him: our creator.If worship is the act of ascribing worth to things, and if time is money, then we worship what we spend our time doing. When we spend our time delighting in the things that God has placed in our life, then we ultimately ascribe value and worth to God. We delight in Him and we delight in what he’s done in and through us.
Of course, the potential problem we find with this kind of lifestyle is this: we can be spending so much time pursuing the dreams and desires of our heart that we forget who placed those desires there in the first place. We can lose sight of our first love, and be caught up in our own hopes and dreams. What was once something that pleased God has become an idol. That’s why humility is so important. When we see everything as God’s, and when we see everything as a gift and blessing, we find that we don’t ascribe the value and glory to ourselves, but to God, thus, ascribing worth (worship) to God. We glorify Him when we use our talents and abilities because he is the very source of those talents and abilities. We ought to be humble and recognize that we’re not the source of the greatness, but that God is (all good an perfect things come from above). In a way, when we use our talents and abilities to glorify God, and when we use gifts in humility, we’re actually reflecting the humility of God himself.
If He is the source of all great things, and great things are done through us, then that means that God is working through us. God could come down and assert his dominance over all of us (and be justified in doing so- He’s God, after all), but often times he just allows his gifts and abilities to be utilized and accessed by us. How much more humble can you get- to be all-powerful and glorious in every way, and to share that goodness not with angels, but with mere humans.
When we fail to glorify God in our actions and in our gifting’s, we are guilty of not only idolatry, but of plagiarism: we take credit for what isn’t ours. We fail to recognize the source of our talents and abilities. When we put more stock in our own passions, dreams, and natural talent than in the glory of God, then we fail to see the reason why we’re even living in the first place. John Piper said “no one likes salt- people like what is salted”. We’re not called to live life for ourselves- we’re called to salt the earth.
The goal here isn’t to discourage people from pursuing dreams- it’s the opposite. Pursue your dreams. Pursue what you love. Just remember the One who placed the desires in your heart in the first place, and remember what you’re living for. We’re called to live lives that glorify God. We’re not called to take credit for the work that Christ has done in our lives.
Chase your dreams. Do fun things. Love God, love others, and the rest will inevitably follow.
Being missional for the sake of being missional is of no eternal worth unless it’s rooted and founded in Christ. Apart from Christ, being missional is philanthropy, community service, and humanitarianism. And, although those things will improve the society we live in, it will never heal the brokenness of the human condition. Philanthropy can equip and improve the conditions of the impoverished, community service can help maintain that which is being improved, humanitarianism can seek to accept and care for everyone equally, but none of these things can address the single greatest threat to humanity- our sin.
This is why Jesus is so important. We are fallen and broken; we have no hope apart from the love of God. But, it’s because of that great love that Jesus Christ was sent as the substitution of our open rebellion against God; he eliminated our sin took our place on the cross. And, when he was resurrected, he gave us his Holy Spirit in order that we may each have a piece of him inside of us- to lead us, guide us, purify us, and strengthen us.
See, we all have this inkling in our hearts- this small twinge that tells us something is broken when we see something that isn’t right. Whether its a homeless person on the corner asking for change, a child in open rebellion against their parents, or an impoverished infant with a distended belly- we all feel the same twinge: something isn’t right and somebody should do something about it.
The reality is this: God created us and we each have a little piece of him inside of us. The inkling we feel is a result of God shaping us and creating us. We all feel that twinge because God feels that twinge. Any effort to satisfy these twinges will never prove successful if God isn’t in it- he designed it that way. He wants to be a part of our the restoration process. It doesn’t matter how deeply rooted in love and well intentioned any of our efforts to fix the world are, if God’s love isn’t the reason why we’re working to restore what has been broken, our efforts will not heal- they will only patch up.
Apart from Jesus, any effort we make to improve society is just patchwork. Humanitarianism doesn’t restore what’s broken, it merely treats the symptoms of a broken society. We need the Holy Spirit to actively dwell inside of us and work out of that power in order to bind us that which has been broken because it takes that kind of power to heal.
In all reality, healing has nothing to do with us and our efforts, but everything to do with God. He is binding up that which has been broken, healing what is wounded, bringing back what has been lost, sharing love with those who’ve been outcasted, and using his own creations- us- to bring glory to himself.
There is nothing new under the sun, so stop trying so hard to be original. Be true to who you’ve been created to be and do what you enjoy.
“No man who bothers about originality will ever be original… If you simply try to tell the truth (without caring twopence how often it has been told before) you will…become original without ever having noticed it.”
-C. S. Lewis
When I have nothing better to do, I dress up in my room and watch How I Met Your Mother…
I’m listening to Sleeping at Last right now and I’m sure that’s half of the reason why I’m even writing right now- they always inspire me to spew my words out for others to read.
In his essay The Weight of Glory, C. S. Lewis asserts that God does not think our desires for happiness and pleasure are too great, but too small. He states that we are far too easily pleased.
We enjoy the wrong things.
Of course, that being said, we can see where Lewis is going; Lewis argues that our greatest joy should not be found in worldly possessions and fleshly desires, but in God.
This, then, poses a much bigger problem: what happens when God isn’t our biggest desire? For an introspective person such as myself, this sends my brain into a spiral of doubt.
Am I a bad person?
Do I really love Jesus?
Am I saved?
Does God love me?
Has God really forgiven me of my sins?
Am I going to heaven?
The reason being is this: if God is looking for those who worship Him in spirit and in truth, then he is looking for people whose sole delight is in him. That means that Our Lord is NOT looking for people who place him 2nd in their list of priorities. This means that if we fail to worship God and glorify him in all things, then we will miss out on his good graces.
Before this year, I usually avoided this spiral of negativity via spiritual disciplines: memorizing verses, worshiping, reading my Bible, talking about Jesus to people, not looking at pornography, praying, etc. Essentially, I sought to eliminate the possibility of myself being overlooked by God through the very religious practice of beating my body into submission. This was great, except for the fact that I was doing these things out of fear and not out of joy.
Now don’t get me wrong- proper, healthy, fear is appropriate. In the Bible, it is called reverence. This was legitimate fear though- cowardice. I was playing the game of life with the goal of “not losing”.
If I could avoid losing, then I would win: right?
Playing to “not lose” ALWAYS ends in failure. You cannot build your life around negatives. Jesus said “if you love me you will keep my commandments” not as a way to manipulate his followers into not sinning- Jesus said this to illustrate what true love for Him looks like.
Living a sinless, humble, God-honoring and glorifying life is not the stipulation to loving Christ, but the consequence.
A general who fights well in order to get a peerage is mercenary; a general who fights for victory is not, victory being the proper reward of battle as marriage is the proper reward of love. The proper rewards are not simple tacked on to the activity for which they are given, but are the activity itself in consummation.
-C. S. Lewis in The Weight of Glory
I’m learning, more and more, that God isn’t interested in our sacrifices as much as he is interested in us. He isn’t looking for us to not sin because we need to be clean to follow Him- we’re clean already because of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Our salvation and redemption is the proper reward for desiring God- not prerequisites.
John Piper states that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him. And, ultimately, we ought to understand our proper place in this universe: that we are not bound to a fate of worrying about sin, but that God has intended us to live a life full of joy, hope, grace and love- that our chief end is to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
Following Christ isn’t about worrying about our sin, it’s about watching our sin melt away as God reveals to us the glory to which he has called us, and how truly glorious he, Himself, is.
Now, I would love to end there, but there’s one problem. We don’t desire God all the time. It’s not easy- we’re broken and fallen. And let’s not kid ourselves- we like sinning from time to time.
God can’t work with people who aren’t willing to admit their faults. That being said, we need to come to God dirty and broken and honest. We need to be willing to tell God that we like sin and that we know we ought to not enjoy sinning. Then, and only then, will he be able to reach into our hearts and refocus our desires.
When we confess our sins, He is faithful to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from unrighteousness.
The cleansing isn’t the prerequisite, but the reward of our desire for intimacy with God. And, it is by this that I can confidently say that to those who seek intimacy with God- to those who seek Godliness, to those who seek to glorify God with every aspect of their life, to those who have forsaken all else to follow Christ: you will see His face.
That is all.
It’s been a while since I’ve been actively involved with tumblr, but I’m hopping back on to promote something super near and dear to my heart.
For a while now, I’ve been putting myself through school while serving as a barista. And, although I love working in a well-respected coffee shop, I’d love to continue doing what I love: ministry. I know I can do ministry alongside school and a part-time job, but it’d be really amazing to be able to focus more time on school and ministry and not have to worry about my other job as much!
This brings me to something I’ve been passionate about for a while: design.
I love creativity. I love design work. I love art, music, and anything that has to do with the idea of making something. It is through this passion that I’ve created a company-
Inspire! The Brand.
Inspire! is a design company I’ve founded to enable young graduates, professionals, and every-day people, to be competitive in todays market. Focusing primarily on brand recognition, Inspire! seeks to create unique designs for each individual customer so they can stand confidently behind their products, company, and brand.
I’d love it if y’all would stop by and say hi on Inspire! The Brand’s facebook and twitter to share some love.
Apart from that, it would be amazing if you could keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I continue on in this next phase of my life. I’ll be focusing lots of time and effort into my company over the next few months and will also be jumping back on here more often, seeing as I’m also focusing heavily on ministry!
If you’d like to stop by Inspire! The Brand, check us out:
Can someone tell me why everything I like costs so much money?
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation.
It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they ate; the delight is incomplete until it is expressed.