“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. ” (John 15:8-10)
We can relate to the two emphases we considered yesterday as the purpose of life- service to God and evangelism. Let’s consider another purpose of life. Could it be found in John 15:8-10?
Many of my friends, direct descendants of Westminster, say, “Stop! Holiness and evangelism aren’t man’s chief end. It is the glory of God!” I know about that. My mother raised me to believe that the Sabbath was made for going to church in the morning and evening and memorizing the Westminster Catechism in the afternoon. I also know from personal experience that a person can work frenetically for God, throw his life away on some distant mission field, and pursue godliness unremittingly, all for the wrong reasons. For example, perhaps I’m driven to do these things for my own benefit, in time or eternity. Or, at best, I may pursue these goals to please someone else–my parents, the keepers of my tradition, or, at a higher level, the salvation of lost people. But if I keep my focus on God, pursuing his honor, his joy, that could purify all the tireless activity, all that cultivation of godliness. So, yes, God’s glory does seem to trump holiness and faithful service as the chief end. Or does it?
In the latter part of the 20th Century, perhaps enhanced by post-modern influences, God’s people began to feel that “the glory of God” could be too intellectual, too impersonal. What is missing is the spirit of worship, the internal response of the human spirit. The spiritual, if you please. The term, “worship,” mutated from it’s earlier breadth of meaning, all that spotlights in word or action the worth of God, to a special emphasis on music. And, toward the end of the century, to worship was to enjoy an experience of contemporary music led by a worship team.
Some, with greater theological finesse, have tried to rescue the worship juggernaut from missing the mark by pointing out that worship is at least one of the best ways to glorify God. And if the motive of worship is to glorify God it will not end up as no more than an exciting experience, an emotional high. On this account, “worship” and “glorify” reinforce, maybe even define one another. But still….could your ultimate purpose be more? What are your top three defining purposes in life?