We often don’t know what God is doing in our lives. Often times I feel like I know exactly what He is doing and then just like that He totally switches up everything. It takes me by complete surprise, but it doesn’t surprise Him. Not one bit. Why? Well, because He planned it that way. He takes those weird moments and uses them in some crazy ways. Our normal series of events is not His normal series of events. Whenever I’m taken by surprise by how my life moves I think of Isaiah 55. This really give us a good reminder of how we are not God. I think we can all agree that we are not God, but we rarely think about how much not-like-God we are. On the scale of power and knowledge, it’s not God up here and then us just a little bit down the line. It’s an infinite difference between us and God.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are you ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
But even though His thoughts are infinitely higher than our thoughts He still is the merciful God who gave us the Bible. We will never fully comprehend His thoughts and ways, but we do know one thing. He is good and He does good to those who love Him. Throughout the Old Testament, we see a pattern. God’s people, the Israelites, disobey God, God judges them accordingly, they repent, and God forgives them. And in the midst of judgment, God reminds them over and over again that He is with them and will save them from their enemies.
I’ve been reading through the book of Ezekiel over the past couple of weeks and we see His mercy again and again. Right after pronouncing judgment on Israel, God reminds them of who He is. He reminds them that He is a just God and He will restore them.
So what is actually good for us as Christians? Is it having a lot of money, not a care in the world, and a perfect house? I know those all sound nice to me, but I believe God has something much bigger in mind for us.
What is good for a Christian?
Per the usual, the answers for this question are in the Bible. The first benefit to us as Christian women also might be the most difficult.
Trials affect all of us and many of you are going through some sort of trial right now. A trial can be many different things. According to the dictionary, a trial can be “a person, thing or situation that tests a person’s endurance or forbearance.” Suffering for righteousness sake is something we will also have to go through. As a believer in the United States, I very rarely am physically persecuted for my faith. There are so many other Christians in other countries who are suffering for Christ’s sake, but they are not suffering in vain. Our persecution now is storing up treasures for us in heaven. Paul put it wonderfully in Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Paul is the person who wrote this section and is also the one who wrote 2 Corinthians 11:24-27, “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes (so 195 lashes). Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”
Paul had gone through incredible suffering and yet he went on to write Romans 8. Through all of these horrible struggles, he knows where his treasure is. These trials and sufferings bolstered his testimony in Christ.
Obedience to God is to His glory and also for our good. When we are obedient to God the Bible tells us that we will be blessed
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.” 1
I’ve recently been struggling with what, as Christians, our motivation should be in this life. Should it be to receive rewards in heaven? Should it be for the glory of God? Should it be salvation from hell? And so I asked someone who would know the answer.
They told me that they all work in unison with one another. Our main focus is our love for God because He first loved us and then also a love for others around us, but there are many other aspects that also come into play. He gives the analogy of a young child obeying her parents. She would obey her parents because she didn’t want to get in trouble, she didn’t want to disappoint them, and also she also wanted the reward that was promised if she did obey.
What is God’s glory & Why is it important?
God’s glory is an inherent part of His being, just like His attributes. He has always been worthy of glory and praise since the beginning of time. As John Piper put it, “Defining the glory of God is impossible, I say, because it is more like the word beauty than the word basketball.” A basketball is easy to define and describe to another person, but beauty, on the other hand, is more of a conceptual idea. He then goes on to give his definition of God’s glory. “The glory of God is the infinite beauty and greatness of God’s manifold (many) perfections.” So, in essence, every aspect of God is His glory. Every good and perfect thing in this entire universe is a sign of God’s ultimate glory because He created every good thing. This is pretty hard to wrap my head around and I hope I made this understandable because it is important. When we know what brings God glory then it is easier to see why a Christian’s good and God’s glory intertwine. At the end of it all really our only reason for living is to live for His glory because that is the only way we can find true peace.
Why they are harmonious
There are a lot of promises in the Bible about 5,000 of them.
“…seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises…” 2
Nothing passes through our lives that is not for His ultimate glory!
The end result is always for His glory.
These two specific promises I believe, show us that God’s good work in our lives is ultimately for His glory.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son…and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” 3
“For the sake of My name I delay My wrath, and for My praise, I restrain it for you, in order not to cut you off. Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act; For how can My name be profaned? And My glory I will not give to another.” 4
I love this 2007 article by John Piper that list just some of what God has done to show His glory.
The best thing that happened in our lives, our salvation, comes from His name’s sake. “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” 5
Everything He has ever done is to glorify himself and bring honor to Him!
Redeemed by the King