This past Sunday, our Sunday school class was listening to a tape of John Piper. It was entitled "Is God An Egomaniac?" I know, I sort of blinked a couple times, too. My first thought was "Of coure not!"
As I listened to him, he dug deep into the Scriptures and came out with nuggets of truth that really resonated with me. First of all, he quoted several famous people (well, apparently they are well-known but I hadn't heard of most of them from under the rock where I live - except Oprah). He quoted them as saying that all the verses in the Bible about God's glory and how everything is FOR God's glory turned them off. I think C.S. Lewis (who didn't come to Christ until he was almost 30 years old) was the one who said it sounded like an old woman asking for compliments. Ouch!
The truth is that God is the most God-centered being in the entire universe, and ultimately everything is for HIS GLORY. That is the bottom line purpose. It's also the reason we were created - to worship HIM. As I heard that something in me went "Wait! What about me? Don't you have a purpose and plan for ME? Don't you take delight in ME? Don't you love ME? Didn't you die on the cross for ME? What about MY joy?" You see the theme right? Here's a hint - all the pronouns are personal.
I started to wonder about the image the Bible gives us of God as our Father and how in the world did THAT play into God's glory being the bottom line for everything. I mean, how many parents are all about their own glory and worship? (okay - don't answer that!)Then God nudged me to think about the child who is made the center of the universe. You've met him or her right - the little prince or princess who rules the small kingdom of their home with a tiny, iron fist. Is that child truly happy? The answer is no, not really. They may want to be the center of everything but it doesn't bring happiness - it usually just brings tears and tantrums.
Have you ever had someone tell you that YOU are their reason for living? That you are their whole world? Personally, I don't want that kind of responsibility. It's too big of a burden to carry and it isn't something that God wants us to carry. We weren't created to be IT. It is a strange fact, that with God things often seem the opposite of what our human natures want or crave. To be first, you have to last. To be a leader, you must serve. To keep your life, you have to lose it. It all seems backwards, but in my own times of worship and prayer I have found a curious thing. When I am humbled and broken and bowed low, that is when God raises me up. I have never had greater joy than at those moments of greatest humility and worship when I really see God's magnifigance and how big He truly is.
Lately, I have found Christianity, as a whole, to be very self-focused. It seems to be all about individual growth or issues; about what brings individual Christians fulfillment. Now I am all for spiritual growth, and I think it is very healthy to deal with our baggage and issues. I believe God wants us to be free but the purpose is to serve and glorify Him - not continue to stare at our navals. We were created to find joy in our insignifigance. Think of the last time you saw something truly breathtaking in nature - maybe it was the Grand Canyon or a sky full of stars. Did you think all about yourself and how awesome you were? Nope. It was this feeling of something or Someone so much bigger than you that brings a breathtaking joy. John Piper ended by saying how our great joy intersects with worship and glorifying God. I couldn't agree more.
I love the song by Chris Tomlin called "I Will Rise." One line goes "before my God/fall on my knees and rise." And that is how it is - to rise, we must bow low.
"I will bless the Lord at all times. His praise will continually be in my mouth. The humble shall hear it and rejoice." Psalm 34:1,2
Rejoice with me and worship our great big, awesome, spectacular God! You just might find it's the happiest you've ever been!
~ Blessings, Bronte