DAY 7 The Reason for Everything Everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory. Romans 11:36 (LB) The LORD has made everything or his own purposes. Proverbs 16:4 (NLT) It's all for him. The ultimate goal of the universe is to show the glory of God. It is the reason for everything that exists, including you. God made it all for his glory. Without God's glory, there would be nothing. What is the glory of God? It is who God is. It is the essence of his nature, the weight of his importance, the radiance of his splendor, the demonstration of his power, and the atmosphere of his presence. God's glory is the expression of his goodness and all his other intrinsic, eternal qualities. Where is the glory of God? Just look around. Everything created by God reflects his glory in some way. We see it everywhere, from the smallest microscopic form of life to the vast Milky Way, from sunsets and stars to storms and seasons. Creation reveals our Creator's glory. In nature we learn that God is powerful, that he enjoys variety, loves beauty, is organized, and is wise and creative. The Bible says, "The heavens declare the glory of God.' Throughout history, God has revealed his glory to people in different settings. He revealed it first in the Garden of Eden, then to Moses, then in the tabernacle and the temple, then through Jesus, and now through the church.2 It was portrayed as a consuming fire, a cloud, thunder, smoke, and a brilliant light.' In heaven, God's glory provides all the light needed. The Bible says, "The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light." God's glory is best seen in Jesus Christ. He, the Light of the world, illuminates God's nature. Because of Jesus, we are no longer in the dark about what God is really like. The Bible says, "The Son is the radiance of God's glory." Jesus came to earth so we could fully understand God's glory. "The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory ... a glory full of grace and truth." God's inherent glory is what he possesses because he is God. It is his nature. We cannot add anything to this glory, just as it would be impossible for us to make the sun shine brighter. But we are commanded to recognize his glory, honor his glory, declare his glory, praise his glory, reflect his glory, and live for his glory.' Why? Because God deserves it! We owe him every honor we can possibly give. Since God made all things, he deserves all the glory. The Bible says, "You are worthy, 0 Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power. For you created everything." In the entire universe, only two of God's creations fail to bring glory to him: fallen angels (demons) and us (people). All sin, at its root, is failing to give God glory. It is loving anything else more than God. Refusing to bring glory to God is prideful rebellion, and it is the sin that caused Satan's fall-and ours, too. In different ways we have all lived for our own glory, not God's. The Bible says, "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." None of us have given God the full glory he deserves from our lives. This is the worst sin and the biggest mistake we can make. On the other hand, living for God's glory is the greatest achievement we can accomplish with our lives. God says, "They are my own people, and I created them to bring me glory," so it ought to be the supreme goal of our lives. HOW CAN I BRING GLORY TO GOD? Jesus told the Father, "I brought glory to you here on earth by doing everything you told me to do.' I' Jesus honored God by fulfilling his purpose on earth. We honor God the same way. When anything in creation fulfills its purpose, it brings glory to God. Birds bring glory to God by flying, chirping, nesting, and doing other bird-like activities that God intended. Even the lowly ant brings glory to God when it fulfills the purpose it was created for. God made ants to be ants, and he made you to be you. St. Irenaeus said, "The glory of God is a human being fully alive!" There are many ways to bring glory to God, but they can be summarized in God's five purposes for your life. We will spend the rest of this book looking at them in detail, but here is an overview: We bring God glory by worshiping him. Worship is our first responsibility to God. We worship God by enjoying him. C. S. Lewis said, "In commanding us to glorify him, God is inviting us to enjoy him." God wants our worship to be motivated by love, thanksgiving, and delight, not duty. John Piper notes, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him." Worship is far more than praising, singing, and praying to God. Worship is a lifestyle of enjoying God, loving him, and giving ourselves to be used for his purposes. When you use your life for God's glory, everything you do can become an act of worship. The Bible says, "Use your whole body as a tool to do what is right for the glory of God.” We bring God glory by loving other believers. When you were born again, you became a part of God's family. Following Christ is not just a matter of believing; it also includes belonging and learning to love the family of God. John wrote, "Our love for each other proves that we have gone from death to life."' Paul said, "Accept each other just as Christ has accepted you; then God will be glorified." It is your responsibility to learn how to love as God does, because God is love, and it honors him. Jesus said, "As I have loved you, so you must love one another: By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." We bring God glory by becoming like Christ. Once we are born into God's family, he wants us to grow to spiritual maturity. What does that look like? Spiritual maturity is becoming like Jesus in the way we think, feel, and act. The more you develop Christlike character, the more you will bring glory to God. The Bible says, "As the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him and reflect his glory even more." God gave you a new life and a new nature when you accepted Christ. Now, for the rest of your life on earth, God wants to continue the process of changing your character. The Bible says,"May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation-those good things that are produced in your life by Jesus Christ for this will bring much glory and praise to God." We bring God glory by serving others with our gifts. Each of us was uniquely designed by God with talents, gifts, skills, and abilities. The way you're "wired" is not an accident. God didn't give you your abilities for selfish purposes. They were given to benefit others, just as others were given abilities for your benefit. The Bible says, "God has given gifts to each of you from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Manage them well so that God's generosity can flow through you.... Are you called to help others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then God will be given glory.” We bring God glory by telling others about him. God doesn't want his love and purposes kept a secret. Once we know the truth, he expects us to share it with others. This is a great privilege-introducing others to Jesus, helping them discover their purpose, and preparing them for their eternal destiny. The Bible says, "As God's grace brings more and more people to Christ, ... God will receive more and more glory." WHAT WILL YOU LIVE FOR? Living the rest of your life for the glory of God will require a change in your priorities, your schedule, your relationships, and everything else. It will sometimes mean choosing a difficult path instead of an easy one. Even Jesus struggled with this. Knowing he was about to be crucified, he cried out: "My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, `Father, save Me from this hour'? But for this purpose I came to this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.' Jesus stood at a fork in the road. Would he fulfill his purpose and bring glory to God, or would he shrink back and live a comfortable, self-centered life? You face the same choice. Will you live for your own goals, comfort, and pleasure, or will you live the rest of your life for God's glory, knowing that he has promised eternal rewards? The Bible says, "Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, . . . you'll have it forever, real and Eternal.” It's time to settle this issue. Who are you going to live for yourself or God? You may hesitate, wondering whether you will have strength to live for God. Don't worry. God will give you what you need if you will just make the choice to live for him. The Bible says, "Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God.' Right now, God is inviting you to live for his glory by fulfilling the purposes he made you for. It's really the only way to live. Everything else is just existing. Real life begins by committing yourself completely to Jesus Christ. If you are not sure you have done this, all you need to do is receive and believe. The Bible promises, "To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." Will you accept God's offer? First, believe. Believe God loves you and made you for his purposes. Believe you're not an accident. Believe you were made to la: forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you've done, God wants to forgive you. Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior. Receive his forgiveness for your sins. Receive his Spirit, who will give you the power to fulfill your life purpose. The Bible says, "Whoever accepts and trusts the Son gets in on everything, life complete and forever!" Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity: `Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you." Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God's purpose for your life. I urge you to tell someone about it. You're going to need support. If you email me (see appendix 2), I will send you a little booklet I wrote called Your First Steps for Spiritual Growth. DAY SEVEN THINKING ABOUT MY PURPOSE Point to Ponder: It's all for him. Verse to Remember: "For everything comes from God alone. Everything lives by his power, and everything is for his glory." Romans 11:36 (LB) Question to Consider: Where in my daily routine can I become more aware of God's glory?