Sunday, February 4, 2018

It's Not About Me, But His Glory

Exodus 2: 23-25  " During that long period, the king of Egypt died. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out, and their cry for help because of their slavery went up to God.  God heard their groaning and he remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.  So God looked on the Israelites and was concerned about them."
Philippians 1:29 " For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him.
Psalm 50:15 "Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
2 Corinthians 4:15 "All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God."

        As human beings, we have a strong tendency towards arrogance, especially in our thinking.  We falsely think that everything is about us..our happiness, our wants and desires, and our benefit.  Wrong!  Our lives are meant to be less about us and more about magnifying God's glory.  "If it’s all about me,  then it would all be up to me.  While I am valuable,  I am not essential.  I am important, but not indispensable.  God knows our limits.  God is well aware of our weaknesses.  The world does not rely on us.  God loves us too much to say, it’s all about you.  To say, “It’s not about you” is not to say you are not loved.  Quite the contrary.  It’s because God loves you that it’s not about you.  We can never find a limit to God’s love for us." [L. Jones]
        Our struggles in life are one of God's greatest tools in getting His glory maximized.  "Your message, your salvation, your body, your struggles, your success – all proclaim God’s glory."  He knows what circumstances will magnify His plans and work in us.  Voddie Baucham reminded me in his sermon on 'Handling Suffering' that we often wish for more time to pray, go to church and fellowship with other believers.  Is it not true, that when we are in the midst of suffering that we spend more time praying, in church and with other believers? 
        In the verses above from Exodus 2, the Israelites were suffering because their king had died.  Now our sufferings may seem to be more personal and harsher to us but the Scripture still reminds us of God's unfailing love at all times.  It reminds us of the privilege of God just hearing us.  In our arrogance, we think 'Did you not hear me God and what I asked for?'  God acts according to His will and timeline, not ours.  Sometimes arrogance leads to total dismissal of God because we falsely think we know best for ourselves.  How merciful and patient is our God to save us from our corrupt and sinful thinking!  The verses also remind us that God is faithful to remember His covenant to save His chosen people.  God sees what we are struggling through and knows better than we do what we can bear.  He doesn't give us what we can handle, He helps us handle what we are given!

         Psalms 115:1 “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory because of Your  loving kindness, because of Your truth.”  
        1 Chronicles 16:24 " God awoke you  and me this morning for one purpose:  “Declare His glory among  the nations, His marvelous deeds  among all people”.
5 Ways To Live For His Glory [Karlene Arthur]

1--Stay repentant
2- Maintain an attitude of praise
3- Pray, read and study God's Word
4- Bear His image---emulate His character and attributes that point back to the humble        definition of the glory of God
5- Draw others to God

In Isaiah 33:6, God promises to the believer..."And He will be the stability of your times, wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the Lord is his treasure."

4 Objections to a Self Centered Life [L. Jones]

1.        We are appreciated, valued and loved dearly.  But central, essential, pivotal – Nope-sorry!  The world does not revolve around us.  Our comfort is not God’s priority.  If God exists to please us, then shouldn’t we always be pleased?

2.       God does not exist to make a big deal out of us.  We exist to make a big deal of Him.  It’s not  about you, it’s about Me – it’s all about God.

3.       The moon models our role – the moon is nothing more than a pitch-black, pot marked rock.  But when the moon is in the “right place” it does what it is made to do, and a clod of dirt becomes a source of inspiration. The moon reflects the greater light.  What would happen if we accepted our place of sun reflectors?

4.       The God centered life works, and it rescues us from a life that doesn’t work.  We’d see our suffering differently, “my pain proves God’s absence “ would be replaced with, “my pain expands God’s purpose.  The gift of pleasures, the purpose of problems – all for Him my God.  We move from me-focus to God-focus by pondering Him, witnessing Him and beholding His glory.