“When he heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.’”
~John 11:4 (NIV).
To what is God’s glory?
This is a question of eternal significance for all of us. Not only is the glorification of God—to the glorification of the Son—paramount for us, we’ll not often think of the arduous process in actually getting there.
To glorify God, to make him known, through ourselves, is to be achieved via our acts of faith and no less. We focus on the process of our acting, trusting God with the results.
To achieve this we’d have to first discharge our acts like God. In other words, we’d have to come close to the holy standard; this standard achieved in a joy despite ourselves. Only then—and not usually via our words—are we glorifying God, in and through what we do.
Jesus achieved this—the glorification of the Father, to the glorification of himself for the purposes of God—via what he did in raising Lazarus from the dead. The miracle came about through what he did and not through what he thought or felt or said.
Doing the Will of God
In Twelve-Step Programs, Step 11 says:
“Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.”
Doing the will of God is paramount to the recovering alcoholic or addict. It’s their ticket to remaining sober or clean.
“Praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out” is a stern commitment to not pray for selfish things, for instance. It is never God’s will to placate us. He is partial to, and a respecter of, no-one. He cannot favour one over the other. Imagine God giving everyone their own way. Doing the will of God is about first thinking like God thinks.
Doing the will of God is but the first step of glorifying God—perhaps it’s fundamentally the only thing we need to do. It is nonetheless never more basic. Through what we do and how we do it, we’re ‘preaching’. Are we, however, preaching God or something else? What’s motivating those good works of ours?
It is still too easy to miss the mark.
Everything Else – ‘a Loss’
Paul considered everything that he’d achieved a rank loss compared to the “surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8 [NIV]). He considered what he’d lost (or thrown away) as “rubbish” in contention with the will of God.
And this is also how we should approach our lives.
Where we do not glorify God in and through what we do—and importantly, how we do it—all else is loss. It just means our existence at these times is purposeless and meaningless. Not that we’re down. We just re-focus.
Bringing glory to God’s name—by doing the will of God—is fundamentally purposeful and meaningful in the realm of the things of God. We know it when we achieve it, for God affirms us in the midst of the relationships we’re blessing in God’s name.
© 2010 S. J. Wickham.