What should be our goal in life?Dear Brother,
Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ!
In response to your questions, "What should be our goal?" and "What should be our drive?", these are the thoughts that the Lord brought to mind as we spoke.
First of all, as I said, Isaiah 43:7 says, "Even every one who is called by my name; for I have created him for my glory; I have formed him; yea, I have made him." Through this verse God tells me that my very purpose for existence is to glorify Him. I was created for His glory, therefore, my purpose is to glorify Him. This being true, I do believe that it should be the goal of every true child of God to glorify God in every area of our lives and that this should be one major thing that drives us. Our frequent prayer should be, "How can I glorify you in this, O God?" and His Word should be our constant meditation so we can think right as to what exactly does glorify Him.
God's Spirit has told us several ways that we can glorify Him, and in so doing we fulfill our purpose for existence. However, for this letter I will focus on only one, and it is one that I fail in very miserably many, many times. As I write these verses out for you, I pray that God will touch both our hearts and cause us to walk in this truth.
In Psalm 50:1 and 23 the Spirit of God speaks through the psalmist and says, "The mighty God, even the Lord, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof...Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me." According to this scripture, we know that one thing that we can do, for sure, to glorify our Creator and our Savior is to offer PRAISE to Him. However, the word "praise" conjures up many and varied connotations depending on what Christian circles one associates with. So, let us submit our thoughts and our connotations to how God defines "praise" in His Holy Word. Hebrews 13:15 gives us some very clear light as to how we can, in a very practical way, offer up praise to God... "By Him, therefore, let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." Notice the words that God uses: "continually", "fruit of our lips", and "giving thanks." Based on this scripture, I do believe that one thing we can do to glorify God, and thus fulfill our purpose here, is to verbally thank Him for everything and to do it all the time. Consider these scriptures that point to the same thing:
"In EVERYTHING give thanks;
for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
"Oh, give thanks unto the Lord;
call upon his name;
make known his deeds among the people.
Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him;
talk ye of all his wondrous works.
Glory ye in his holy name;
let the heart of them rejoice who seek the Lord...
Praise ye the Lord."
Psalm 105:1-4, 45b
"Praise ye the Lord.
Oh, give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good;
for his mercy endureth forever."
"Praise ye the Lord.
I will Praise the Lord with my whole heart,
in the assembly of the upright,
and in the congregation."
"Praise ye the Lord.
Praise, O ye servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord.
Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and for evermore.
From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same,
the Lord's name is to be praised."
I long to have this attitude on more and more days and maintain this attitude longer and longer each day!
It looks to me like we should ask God for this heart of thanksgiving and praise and then set our heart to do it! However, we should not just say the words when we are gathered with others or when we approach the Lord one on one in our own quiet times, but we should "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and bless his name...from the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same..." We should thank him for sleep, strength, safety, food, opportunities, loved ones and "Every good gift and every perfect gift (which) is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."
God forbid that we should neglect to give credit where credit is due, that we should take any of the credit for our own selves, or in our silence allow someone else to give the credit to someone or something else, whether it be to our own goodness, luck, or chance. Consider the following:
"Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
but unto thy name give glory,
for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake."
"Thus says the Lord,
Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
neither let the mighty man glory in his might,
let not the rich man glory in his riches,
but let him that glorieth glory in this,
that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord..."
"...a man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven."
It would seem that for you and I, who have been called from darkness to light when we were dead, blind, and without hope, thanksgiving and praise would come naturally, but it does not! Our human frailty is such that even this, which seems so fitting and appropriate, to verbally give thanks and praise to God all the time for all his blessings toward us, does not flow from our flesh. God must work even this character in our lives by his Spirit through his Word.
God also desires us to grow beyond this. Thanking and praising him for the blessings, good things, and the perfect things is only the beginning. "In EVERYTHING give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you." Yes, E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! This would include not just the things that we refer to as "good" or "blessings", but also those things that cause great heartache and pain both emotionally and spiritually. Practically speaking this means that when everything goes wrong we should still "give thanks" to God showing that we really do believe that "...all things work together for good to those who love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
For example, when we do not sleep because of some outside disturbance, sickness, or a busy mind, our natural tendency is to murmur and complain to everyone who asks us, "Well, how are you today?" First of all God forbids this attitude in Phil. 2:14: "Do all things without murmurings and disputings...," and secondly, he says, "Give thanks." Wouldn't it glorify God if, instead of complaining, we verbally thanked and praised God for allowing us to have more time to... "remember" him on our bed and "meditate on him in the night watches?"
"My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness;
and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed,
and meditate on thee in the night watches."
"Mine eyes anticipate the night watches,
that I might meditate in thy word."
If David looked forward to awakening in the night knowing of satisfaction as he meditated then upon God, it certainly seems right that we should give thanks and not complain when we lose sleep some night.
According to Paul, when we are weak, sick, frail, and even suffering, we can and ought to glory in these irfirmities that the power of Christ can rest upon us. May God give us all the grace to give thanks in EVERYTHING and say with Paul, in the midst of physical suffering and discomfort..."Therefore, I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:10)
When the safety we have thanked the Lord for flees and we are in a situation where we fear for our lives, I pray that we will not panic, as those who have no hope. By God's grace, we can BELIEVE his promises and be fully persuaded that what he has promised, he is able also to perform.
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed,
and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled,
though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof."
"The Lord is good,
a stronghold in the day of trouble,
and he knoweth those who trust in him."
"In God is my salvation and my glory,
the rock of my strength; my refuge is in God.
Trust in him at all times ye people;
pour out your heart before him.
God is a refuge for us."
"When a man's ways please the Lord,
he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him."
"But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord;
he is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them;
he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them,
because they trust in him."
Although I personally have never experienced a situation where I truly thought my life was going to be snuffed out, I can see that we could thank him and praise him even then, as we appeal to him, as Jehoshaphat did long ago, as the God "...who rulest over all the kingdoms of the nations? And in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?"
When we have no food, or less than we are accustomed to, we can thank him and praise him for the opportunity to learn a lesson that Paul said he had to learn (Phil.4: 11). He said that he had to learn "to be content" and there are certain things that we can never learn until God has taken us through certain lessons and we receive his grace. How can we learn this contentment, that Paul spoke of, unless we pass through what it takes to learn it? So, even in hunger we can thank and praise him. Also we can thank and praise him for the opportunity to wait upon God, hoping in his word (Ps. 130:5), and for the unique privilege of experiencing the God of Israel providing our needs today, in our hour of need, as he did for the children of Israel, in the wilderness, over 4,000 years ago.
In summary, our very purpose for existence is to glorify God! To do so, then, should be our chief goal and drive in life. One way that we can glorify God in our own personal lives is to verbally thank him and praise him for all that we receive from his hand, whether it be good (Jms 1:17), or evil (Job 1:10). May the Lord give us this heart so full of thanks and praise to God that it cannot be contained and spills out of our lips continually in EVERYTHING.
There are a few other things that we can do to glorify God and I hope to take those up later.
Please give me your thoughts concerning these thoughts so "I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me."
Grace and peace be multiplied to you through the knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord,
A Fellow Servant