Saturday, May 01, 2010

What does it mean to do all things to the glory of God?

I don't think the biblical exhortation to do all things "as unto the Lord" or "for the glory of God" is talking about doing things well, "trying our hardest" or achieving any specific measurable standard of excellence. We don't glorify God by being good at stuff. I think it's about giving Jesus the preeminence in all things, and doing all things in fellowship with Him.

Our work matters, and to do it with apathy or to avoid it does not bring glory to God. But I don't think the cure for apathy, laziness, or hiding our talents, is to try harder or to aim for objectively measurable excellence.  I think as we are in fellowship with the Holy Spirit, He will lead us into meaningful, fruitful work which will glorify Himself. But if our eyes are fixed on excellence as the goal, even in a desire to bring glory to God, we are likely to miss the heart. I think the motivation is the key, not only for our own hearts, but also for the way we transfer expectations onto others.

I have lived different sides of this - pursuit of excellence that led to perfectionism, pride, and condemnation; shame when I felt like trying my hardest was killing me and producing only failure; apathy when I didn't know what to do so I would just do nothing; desperation when I realized apathy was killing my heart...I'm now in a place of seeking, asking - What does it really mean to glorify God? If I totally screw up can God still be glorified in me? I know He can. So how is that different from when I don't screw up? Am I doing something more "unto the Lord" if I am exerting more effort at the task? What about the result - is God more glorified if it turns out awesome? What if it turns out awesomely awesome but I wasted a whole bunch of time making it the most awesomest thing ever? How does my mindset affect how I use my time? Does doing something “as unto the Lord” mean that I take more time and make it better, or take less time and worry less about answering to someone else’s standard in order to devote myself to tasks of greater importance? Or (more likely) does it all just depend on the specifics of the situation?  Are these questions that can be answered objectively, or is there a God-breathed rhema word for each individual in each moment?

I don't have many clear answers, except "Abide in Me, for apart from Me you can do nothing." So that's where I'm at. Although even that is a question in my heart "So, Lord, by abiding in You, what exactly does that mean for me right now? Am I abiding in you by reading Your Word right now? Or would abiding look like being faithful to my obligations by doing the dishes right now? Or is abiding an internal state that isn't conditional upon my tasks? So can I "abide" and do whatever I want as long as I'm thinking about You? If I can't do whatever I want, then what, precicely, is the boundary of "abiding?"..." And on, and on, and on. All I know is that I need Him. And needing Him gives Him more glory than being good at stuff

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