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Monday, December 28, 2009

The Life Goal of the Christian

I was pleased a few months ago to discover John MacArthur's sermons online HERE. He's got some great stuff! I was just listening to a series on "The Basics of Christianity" and decided to blog about what he says in this series in context with goals in the new year.

Here's the question: what is your life goal?

a) to glorify God
b) to glorify self

And really, every goal we pursue falls under one of these two categories.

If you do, in fact, belong to God, you should deeply desire to glorify Him and not yourself. So, what does this look like?

1. The first thing is that we must confess Jesus as Lord. His is the name that is above all other names, that all those in heaven and on the earth and under the earth will kneel to. (Philipians 2:9-11) Those who pursue God, but do not recognize Christ as God/man and resurrected redeemer, do not, in fact, glorify Him.

2. recognize that we are saved for HIS glory, and not primarily for our own blessing in avoiding hell. (1 John 2:12)

3. aim all in our life to God's glory -- even the most mundane and menial things. Just ask yourself before each action: will this glorify God, or me? It's a good habit to develop.

And then, you can test yourself to see if you do, in fact, prefer Him:

1. are you looking for His benefit or yours?

2. are you content to do His will no matter what it costs (dreams/ambitions), or do you want what you want?

3. do you hate to be exposed to things that offend Him? (eg swearing with His name, bad actions in movies, etc.)

4. do you rejoice when others succeed? are you content to be outdone by others as long as God is glorified?

5. do you confess sin?

6. do you trust God even when you don't understand what's going on?

7. have you produced fruit in your attitudes and actions?

8. do you praise Him for His attributes and His past actions? You may wish to keep a notebook for your requests and responses.

9. do you pursue peace? (for example, if someone cuts you off in traffic...)

10. are you obedient to His will even if you know it may hurt your own plans?

11. do you study and proclaim his word?



Philangelus said...

Back when I was a wee lass, I learned it as "God made me to know and love him in this life, and to be with him forever in the next." :-)

I have a question about point one, actually. I'm Catholic, so I get confused a lot about what Protestants and Evangelicals mean when they say to confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. (It's like speaking two different languages using all the same words. We won't even get into the horror of trying to explain what Catholics mean by "justify" versus was Protestants mean by "justify." It would make my head explode).

But when Peter is asked what one needs to do to enter the Kingdom of God, his only response is "repent and be baptized." Is that what you mean by "confess"?

For the guy who cut me off in traffic, someone said it's best to think,"God, please bless him and have mercy on me," because we're supposed to pray for our enemies and all of us need mercy.

Amy Deardon said...

For what it's worth, I've always thought that "confess" is not a creed that is repeated in a formalized manner, but simply a belief or acknowledgment that Jesus is God and man, he died, he physically rose again, and that his rising is proof that his sacrifice is sufficient for all our sin. "Repent and be baptized" is another, as is "confess with your mouth" --> all correct, all trying to get at the same thing in a different way. Formalizing a creed is helpful, but just because someone says some "magic words" doesn't mean that he is by that virtue a Christian -- it comes down to what is in the person's heart, whether he is striving towards God and Christ or not.

My understanding, anyway. Philangelus, I hope you're all doing well, and you had a great Christmas!

Philangelus said...

I wasn't even thinking about a creed. Would that be the equivalent of a confession of faith? (See, translation issues abound.)

So indirectly, the way I openly talk about my faith on my weblog would be considered confessing belief in Christ?

Where's the verse about confessing with one's mouth? (To be honest, though, I couldn't tell you where Peter's response is,other than somewhere in Acts. I only remember he said it. LOL!)

Amy Deardon said...

Romans 10:9 -- "That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

I don't wish to define creeds and confessions, since I'm a layperson and don't know the formalized definitions of these. I DO believe that you can reach a saving faith of Christ without them -- after all, the only thing the thief on the cross was able to do was ask Jesus to remember him in Jesus' heavenly kingdom:

Luke 23: 39-43 "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: 'Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!'

"But the other criminal rebuked him. 'Don't you fear God, he said, 'since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.'

"Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'

"Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.' "


In my typically perhaps inscrutable way, for this blog entry I was trying to say that a consistent habit of glorifying God rather than self was a goal all believers should aspire to. I used "confessing" since it is in the philipians passage -- but I meant simply to believe he is God and man, live His truth, and speak of it. So yes, in my opinion you are confessing Christ as you talk about him on your blog :-)

Anonymous said...

you have a interesting blog
God bless you

Anonymous said...

I didn't see a email linked back to your blog so I will say with another comment:

Thank you for your comment on my blog
your comments are always welcome
God bless you and have a wonderful New Years