Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Seek God's Glory

Fiction fans: Do you prefer happy or sad endings? Personally, I'll take a happy ending any day; but considering how many tragedies have become bestsellers and classics, many people evidently feel differently.

One possible reason is that tragedies are thought to be more "realistic," to delve deeper into the problems of humanity with the recognition that there are no happily-ever-after solutions that forever eliminate all problems (at least not in this life). Modern Christian fiction developed an unfortunate reputation for being shallow and escapist because too many writers packed their plots with obvious miracles, or wrote he-got-saved-and-lived-happily-ever-after endings. (Aspiring novelists tempted in such directions should first read articles #76 and #74 on this page.)

While becoming Christians does of course offer the promise of eventually living happily ever after, it definitely does not mean instant solutions (of our choice) to all our problems. True Christianity is, in fact, never primarily about the believer. It is about God; our creation, our redemption, our sanctification, our eternal life, and everything we go through along the way are first of all for the purpose of His glory.

Some readers' reaction to that statement will be, "I thought God did all this because He loved us. Are you saying He thinks in terms of 'every soul in heaven is a feather in My cap'?" No, I don't mean that God's love for us is any less genuine. As with the seemingly self-contradictory truth that God maintains complete control of all that happens and yet we cannot disclaim responsibility for our own actions, God's holding His own glory as the primary good and yet being totally unselfish is a paradox our limited minds can never really understand. But it's worth remembering that--unlike human beings who seek their own glory because they falsely believe they are more important than others of their own kind--God deserves it. He is more important--far more important--than anyone or anything else.

And--another holy paradox, but one thousands can confirm from experience--seeking one's own glory leads only to more and more misery, even with people who seem to have everything anyone could want. Whereas, even when outward circumstances look unbearable (and indefinitely remain so), seeking God's glory is the true route to personal peace and happiness.

If you would be free from worry and fear,
If you would live life in a state of cheer,
Then seek not yourself, promote not your own,
But seek God's glory and His will alone.

If your life is a maze of struggle and stress,
And the weight of your tasks a crushing press,
Then choose not, yourself, all that you "must" do,
But seek God's glory and His will for you.

If you would be strong in the Lord's great power,
If you would stand firm through each earthly hour,
Then do not forget God is all you need,
And seek His glory with each thought and deed.

It is He Who drives out worry and fear;
It is He Whose burden is light to bear;
It is He Who gives strength for every test--
So seek God's glory and strive for His best.

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