By Don Ruhl
Once both a husband and a wife were having troubles of all kinds; marital, financial, employment, church, drinking, child, and many other troubles. One evening their troubles culminated. They argued and eventually he hit her and he was arrested. He wanted me present for his hearing the next day. It was ruled that he had to stay away from her till his next trial date, which was many weeks away.
In the meantime, he wanted help on making his marriage work. She was willing to talk, but had a problem of self-righteousness, so she did not want to hear any instruction from the word of God. She only wanted to know how her husband could change. After questioning her on some things it was obvious that she did not think that she had any problems whatsoever, and that she thought he did not have any good points.
Since they could not be together and since I did not know them well I wanted to start with more basic things about Christianity on which they were ignorant. We would get to their marriage. They were not living the Christian life and this created many problems in their home life, plus the problems we all experience just through everyday living; they were not coping with them very well.
Thus I gave them a book to read about coping with the issues of life (Coping: A Biblical Approach by Steve Lloyd) and I would talk with both of them separately about each chapter, until we could come together. Along the way we were discussing fundamentals of Christianity. Once we were done with that book we would then move into issues of marriage.
“What has this got to do with anything?”
The times went well with him, for he was in deep guilt and knew that he needed to change his life. She could not see that she had any faults. The first chapter of this book is about glorifying God. She tried three times to read this book, but found it boring, though it has helped many other people all across America, and conversions have taken place, and weak members have rededicated themselves. She said she just kept falling asleep. Finally her irritated responses was this: “What has this got to do with anything?”
The only thing that she had read was about glorifying God. Thus she was asking: “What has glorifying God got to do with anything?” Does glorifying God have any affect upon a marriage or upon anything that we do in life? What is so amazing about this Christian woman is this: She claimed that she knew that we are supposed to glorify God, and that she was doing it. However, she and her family rarely worshiped with the church where they lived, and when they did it was only for Sunday morning services. They did not participate in any of the church’s activities. They did not in any way do anything to help the church or to edify their fellow Christians. Nor was there any way in which they really exemplified spirituality.
Many people do not see how glorifying God has anything to do with their daily lives. Oh yes, they will acknowledge that we should glorify God in the worship services and Bible classes. But the average person does not see or understand how their marriages, their jobs, their finances, and every other part of their lives can and ought to glorify God.
Our whole lives are for glorifying God
Jeremiah 13:15, 16 describes very well the couple I was discussing earlier, and especially the woman, for this passage reveals that we are commanded to glorify God, but if we do not, then we will suffer for it:
Hear and give ear: Do not be proud, for the LORD has spoken. Give glory to the LORD your God before He causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it dense darkness.
This is exactly what happens to people who do not glorify God. As Proverbs 4:19 teaches, they live in the darkness, stumbling at what they do not know: “The way of the wicked is like darkness; They do not know what makes them stumble.”
Thus when you try to show them what is wrong, and how their failure to honor the Lord and to live as He directs is the root of their problem, they do not understand, and may even mock what you say. Matthew 5:16 records the words of the Lord in which He says our lights should bring glory to God: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
We would all do well to ask ourselves if we are doing what the Lord commanded here. Does the light of Christ shine in your marriage and in everything else that you do, so that people could eventually give glory to God? Romans 1:20–31 definitely shows the connection between the way that we live and whether we glorify God. Please observe carefully how a failure to glorify God leads to serious problems in living:
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed beasts and creeping things. Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful…
Do you see how failing to glorify God leads to all sorts of sins and problems in life? So “What does glorifying God have to do with anything?” Everything! I would like to know what in life is not impacted by our glorifying or failing to glorify God.
First Corinthians 6:19, 20 is still another passage instructing us to glorify God, but here Paul specifies with our bodies,
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
For what do you use your body? You use your body for living everyday, not just for going to worship services. Marriage, and many other things, we do with the body, therefore marriage and everything that you do should be done to the glory of God.
First Corinthians 10:31 also shows that our lives, even the seemingly insignificant things of life, should be geared toward glorifying God: “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Even our eating and drinking, and anything else that you could list, we should be doing to the glory of God. Does your life, even the small things, show that you are trying to glorify God? Often things like eating and drinking we gear toward pleasing ourselves, even if it causes a brother or sister to stumble and Paul teaches in this chapter that such thinking does not glorify God.
First Peter 4:11 teaches, of course, that what we do in the church should glorify God,
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Moreover, many of the things that you do outside of the church, such as your marriage, your work and what you do in your neighborhood has an impact on whether God is glorified in the church. In other words, if you are evil at work, then what do people at work think about the church? Will they be led to glorify God?
The book of Ecclesiastes—and especially 12:13, 14—shows that our main purpose in life has to do with God,
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil.
What we must come to realize is that we are here to put God first, to make Him the center of our lives, to bring honor and glory to Him. When we see life from that perspective, then all of life begins to make sense. For people who do not glorify God, they will not see what glorifying God has got to do with anything.
Think of Job. The book of Job fulfills several purposes, one of which is to get us to see that we should exalt the Lord in every part of our lives. Job’s faith was not tested just in a “religious” sense by someone introducing false doctrine to him, but in his health, his family, his friendships, his community life, and his means of employment.
If we honor God, then He will honor us
First Samuel 2 shows the consequence of failing to honor God. I remember watching the movie “Chariots of Fire” for the first time; and there were several scenes that were very impressive. The star of the movie was an Olympic runner who glorified God in all that he did. An American runner admired the runner from Scotland, and so in one race in which they were competitors the American gave the Scot a note just before the race began and the Scot held the note tightly in his hand, appreciating what was said, and won the race. What had the American told the runner from Scotland? It came from the passage in which Eli the priest would not stop his sons from sinning and God rebuked Eli in 1 Samuel 2:29, 30 when a prophet said to him,
“Why do you kick at My sacrifice and My offering which I have commanded in My habitation, and honor your sons more than Me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel My people?” Therefore the LORD God of Israel says: “I said indeed that your house and the house of your father would walk before Me forever”; but now the LORD says: “Far be it from Me; for those who honor Me I will honor, and those who despise Me shall be lightly esteemed.”
Daniel 4 shows one of the greatest kings ever during a time of great self-exaltation, and how God humbled the king, and then what the king learned. In verse 30 King Nebuchadnezzar boasted that mighty Babylon had been created by him and that it was for his own glory: The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” Verses 31–33 reveal that God immediately humbled the human king and drove him from his kingdom and he lived like an animal, until, as verse 32b says: “… you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” Finally he came to this realization and verses 34–37 record some of the most magnificent words ever written by a human without the aid of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit on glorifying God,
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. no one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase.
Does your life glorify God? Have not all of these passages shown us that if we fail to glorify God, then we will fail in life? If you have not been glorifying God, then you must turn to the Lord immediately, that is, you must repent to avoid the horrible failures with which you must be struggling. If you are glorifying God, then do not give up, brother or sister, but press on and God shall honor you in ways that you cannot even imagine.
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