Can God Get Glory from My Life?
by Dominique Henderson
As I write this, I will admit that I am struggling through a period in my life of despondency. I have many times in the past couple of weeks questioned my purpose in the kingdom and what God has for me to do. I don't know if you have experienced this in your walk with Christ but it can leave you feeling very miserable and worthless. I have struggled in this weak [US] economy to make my business thrive and it has translated into financial stress and concern. This in turn has drawn me away from people and into myself. There is that word..."myself". All the derivatives of the word I, me, my and myself are all reflective of the individual. Those words have nothing to do with anyone or anything else--and that includes God. What I'm getting at is that in order to rely on God, all things that have a foundation planted around me have to be broken down and away from me.
Two systems of thought cannot co-exist in the same person. This is true in life. In your household, an attitude of savings and thrift cannot co-exist with wastefulness. The same is true in the life of an individual. I have found myself lately trying to co-exist in the world's system and God's system. These are two different systems entirely. The kingdom of God and his system is different than the worlds. God says to be counted least and you will be greatest in the kingdom. The world in stark contrast tells you to look out for yourself because no one else will. (See Mark 9:35) God says to give and it will immeasurably be given back to you. (See Luke 6:38) The world says make sure you get yours first and don't worry about others. There are many other examples but I think you get the picture. All of this, and I have vacillated between the two systems--unconsciously almost. I say almost because if the Holy Spirit is resident in your life he will guide you in all truth and lead you back to God's will for your life. (See John 16:13) So for example, on one hand you know that the road to self-preservation leads to pride which cannot exist in God's system. There are several passages of scripture that speak of God's opposition to the proud and his honoring of the humble. (See Proverbs 3:34; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5) The problem occurs on the other hand as you struggle to think that God will have you deny yourself to the extent that you begin to lack necessities in the world in which you live.
Undeniably though, scripture is clear that no man can serve two masters. You will love one and hate the other. Jesus is saying that no man can serve two systems of thought; one system will overrule the other. You either live by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ or you live according to your own volition (the world's way). Think how strange it would be to live in the United States and avoid paying taxes to Uncle Sam. Even if your reason was that your citizenship was to another country, you would be expected to pay taxes to the country or system in which you live. If you didn't submit to the US tax authority you would incur major consequences (e.g. penalties and even jail time) from trying to live according to any other rules in any other system. Well the same is true in this Christian life. You cannot live a life submitted to God if you are in control of your decisions, your actions, and your thoughts. A life submitted to God allows him to control all of those things and makes you subservient to his will. I have admittedly struggled to allow God to be in full control and have denied God total control in my life. When I place my fear of what people would say about me before God I am going to experience confusion and chaos in life. And as long as I strive to preserve myself, my image, and how people perceive me, God has no room to get glory out of my life. The path to self preservation never leads to the glorification of God. It can't because when you strive to preserve how you look you naturally exclude and ignore God. The same way an undisciplined child selfishly cries for what the parent doesn’t give, is the same way we act selfishly in ignoring God’s will for our life. That child shames the parent and the family name, just as we don’t bring glory to God when we act accordingly in self-preservation. There is another word for this. I'm speaking of the 5-letter word no Christian dare be guilty of having but yes it is essentially p-r-I-d-e. No one likes to admit it, but we all struggle with it and I can especially say me. I know that when I hate to see this sin in others and ignore it myself for the sake of preserving the way people view me, I have it. I know that when I am able to point it out in everyone else and not see but one or two areas in my life that I struggle in, then I have it. Pride is self-preservation. Pride is ignoring in yourself what you so readily see in others. And the kicker is that in order to maintain your self-image and continue in this destructive self-preservation pattern you adopt compulsive behaviors like jealousy, envy and many others. And all these compulsive behaviors do is mask your true malady by focusing on what others do and say. You can't correct these behaviors because you 24-7 focus on how everybody else doesn't measure up to what you do or say. You justify your behavior at all cost with exclusion of the real truth. And that is that the heart is desperately wicked [including yours!] and who can know it! (See Jeremiah 17:9) That is why only the Holy Spirit can convict an individual of their wrong and bring them to repentance. So what am I saying to you? Not much really, but to be aware of how subtly you can walk the road of self-preservation and be a Christian on your way to heaven. God desires a broken and contrite spirit of all individuals. Persons like David (after Bathsheba), Job (after his calamities), Joseph (after being sold into slavery) and many others all experienced humility and brokenness. This was so that God could birth in us what He truly desires--and individual whose life can give him glory.
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