Why Are You Here?

I don’t know about you, but I really don’t like doing something if I don’t know the reason WHY I’m doing it. Conversely, I would say most of us can do just about anything if we understand WHY it needs to be done. If you contracted some strange, life-threatening illness, and you knew the only cure was simply eating brussels sprouts for breakfast everyday, do you think you would do it? Of course you would! You see, the WHY matters.

 

So, I’m about to throw a deep question at you:

 

Why are you here? Sure. God made you. But why? WHY did he make you?

 

Stop. Don’t you dare read any further until you have actually thought about the question.

 

Well, like any good Sunday School teacher, I’m gonna tell you the answer. Isaiah 43:7 tells us we were created for his glory. “Everyone who is called by my name, WHOM I CREATD FOR MY GLORY, whom I formed and made.” In I Peter 4, it points out WHY we serve and obey the Lord: “In order that in everything, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 implores us: “So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Romans 11:36 reminds us: “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever.” The Westminster Shorter Catechism simply explains that our whole life’s purpose, or “chief end of man” is “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.”

 

Ok. So, you’re probably wondering “what is ‘glory,’ exactly?” John Piper explains that “glory” is a lot like the word “beauty.” We know what beauty is, but it’s hard to define. Like Piper, I’ll use examples to explain the concept of glory. Glory is staring at the ocean and not being able to see where it ends. Glory is nailing your dance routine at competition. Glory is making the winning three-point shot on the buzzer, and sending your team to Nationals. Glory is getting a “hat trick” in a soccer game. Glory is seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time. Get it?

 

Well, God’s glory is astounding. As mere humans, we can hardly wrap our minds around all that makes Him glorious. Everything about Him is glorious. His love is never-ending. That’s glorious. He is all-powerful. That’s glorious. He is an intricate creator. That’s glorious. He is gracious and merciful. That’s glorious. He is completely Holy. That’s glorious. He is always righteous. That’s glorious. He is awe-inspiring. That’s glorious. I could go on and on. But it’s more than that. I like the way Piper sums it up: “God’s glory is the perfect harmony of all his attributes into one infinitely beautiful and personal being.” He is GOD.

 

So, how do you, a mere human, give Him any glory? Ok. So, theologians could write volumes about this subject. But for today’s purpose, I want to focus on the simple answer. Again, I’m gonna steal from Piper: “He created us to display his glory, that is, that his glory might be known and praised.”

 

When you pass by your favorite store window and it’s filled with adorable new outfits of the season, don’t you look at your friend and say “Isn’t that cute!?” Or, when your mom makes your favorite dessert, you might tell her “Thanks, mom! It was delicious!” When you are one of the firsts to see the amazing movie that just came out, you probably tell your friends: “Oh, it’s the best! The music was incredible! You have to go see it!” Do you get my point? When you see something glorious, you talk about it! You say what you think about it! You persuade others to love it too! It’s the same way with God.

 

The more you know Him, the more you love Him. The more you love Him, the more you recognize Him for who He is. The more you recognize Him for who He is, the more you’re compelled to tell Him how awesome He is. The more you tell Him how awesome He is, the more He changes you to be like Him. The more you become like Him, the more you DO in His name. The more you do in His name, the more people see a difference in you. The more people see a difference in you, the more opportunities you have to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Glory! It’s not about YOU. It’s about HIM.

 

Today’s post is about worship. In the above paragraph I basically explained what it means worship the Lord. But in our world, we’re guilty of worshiping far more than just God. Worship is making something a big deal in your life. It is what you appreciate and adore. Naturally, the things you love become the things you give time and attention to. They become the things you talk about. They’re the things you think about when you go to sleep and the first things you think about in the morning. You might even become a slave to those things. In essence, you worship anything that consumes your thought, attention, conversations, money, time and actions. If the things we worship aren’t God, they are idols. Can you think of any examples from your own life?

 

God not only made you to worship Him, He WANTS you to worship Him. It’s interesting to me, that God uses the story of the Samaritan woman to tell us that he wants our worship. He even goes further and tells us what true worship is like. Go ahead. Stop and read John 4:1-42.

 

Again, entire sermons are devoted to this passage, but for this post, I want to zero-in on verses 23 and 24. “…true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and in truth. Yes, the Father wants such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and in truth.”

 

Right worship MUST have the right focus. I said it before. I’ll say it again. Worship is NOT about you. It’s about God. Worship is about the TRUE GOD of scripture. Worship CANNOT be about the god you imagine, or the god you want, or the god our culture ignorantly tries to define. You must KNOW your God to worship Him!

 

If you are a believer, then the Spirit of the Living God lives in you. The Holy Spirit points you to Truth and makes you understand God’s Word. The Spirit draws you into a deeper relationship with God. Read His word. It’s “alive and active.” Know Him. The more you know Him, the more you’ll love Him! Worship is just natural at that point. Well, I guess I should say “supernatural!”

 

So much more could be said about worshiping “in Spirit and in truth,” but I’ll make one more point that I think will hit home with you. It took me forever to finally get this one. God wants you to be honest with Him. Be real with Him! He already knows everything about you anyway! He knows every hair on your head. He knows your thoughts. Most importantly, He knows your heart. Come to Him as you are. Don’t try to pretend with Him. If you don’t understand something about Him or his Word, ask Him! If you don’t feel head-over-heels in love with Him, ask Him to give that to you! If you’re at church, and you look around at people who seem to feel so moved by singing praise songs, and you don’t understand why you don’t feel the same way, then ask Him!!!! To love and adore him, you must really, really know Him, and it’s HIS SPIRIT that makes you know Him. Don’t you think he would LOVE to give you that!? Of course He does! He wants nothing more than to fill you with an overflowing love for Him. Luke 11:13 tells us “…how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.” James 4:2 says “you do not have because you do not ask.”

 

Do you want to fulfill your purpose? Do you want to REALLY live as you were created? Know Him. Love Him. Adore Him. Study Him. Serve Him. Ask of Him. Sing to Him. Give thanks to Him. Talk about Him. WORSHIP HIM.

 

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Who Is Writing Your Story?

 

Girl reading a book in the city

 

Let me ask you a very important question. Who is writing your story?

 

Think about what makes a great book or movie. To have a good story, you need interesting characters, an intriguing plot, lots of ups and downs, an antagonist (that’s the bad guy), a little suspense, a bit of romance, and a nice ending never hurts.

 
Your life is like a long, amazing story. You have ups and downs. You have important people in your life (good and bad). You have moments of uncertainty. One day you’ll experience romance. You will have times of grief. You will have accomplishments and celebrations. But will your story have a happy ending? Do you know? Can you know?
Let’s say you’re in a slump. Maybe you’re having a hard time at school. Maybe there are mean girls you must deal with. Maybe your family is going through a difficult time. Maybe you weren’t picked to be on the team you wanted.

 
What do these hard times mean in the big story? I’m not going to tell you that you should just get over it and move on. No. Hard times hurt. It’s ok to have feelings. But what if you knew the ending was going to be a happy one? Wouldn’t that help you keep your chin up? What if you knew you would win in the end? Wouldn’t that help you keep trying? What if you knew true beauty lasts forever? Wouldn’t that help you be kind to your enemies?

 
Well, I bet you can guess what I’m leading up to, can’t you? Yes! As a daughter of the King, you win because HE has won. If Jesus is your Lord, you’ve put your faith in Him, and you’re living for Him, then HE IS WRITING YOUR STORY!
My sweet friends, He is writing a GOOD story! He loves you. He has amazing things planned for you. Jesus came to give you abundant life. He has created you to sparkle. The more and more you live for Him, slowly, but surely, you begin to shine.
Warning! This does not mean that life will always be easy! The Lord will use hard times in your life to make you even better. I know you might be tempted to wonder why God would allow you to suffer. I know you might wonder if He’s there with you. I promise you He IS WITH YOU. Remember, you can’t always see the happy ending in a movie or a book when the plot is thickening. The bad times are just a tiny piece of the big story. They are just a fleeting moment.

 
I bet you know the story of Joseph. Remember? His brothers were jealous of him, so they sold him as a slave. Joseph ended up in a country far from his home. But, he proved to be hard-working and capable, so he was given an important job. Then someone told a lie about him that landed him in jail. He was in jail for years. While in jail, he continued to live with wisdom and integrity, so he was even put in charge in the prison! He helped a friend in the jail who quickly forgot about him. But eventually the King needed his help. Joseph saved the day and was promoted by the king as second in command. Joseph made wise choices for the kingdom and eventually ended up saving the lives of his brothers! Yes! The brothers who sold him into slavery! This act of mercy on Joseph’s part ultimately led to the salvation of God’s Holy family – the Hebrews. Whew! That was a quick recap of the story of Joseph, but did you notice all the ups and downs? Don’t you think Joseph was tempted to question God’s hand in his life while he was sitting in prison for years? He couldn’t possibly know the plan God had for him. God used Joseph to save His chosen people, the Israelites. Wow.

 
I’ll take the idea of hardship one step further. To follow Jesus, you must be prepared to live the way he did. He was not always loved. In fact, he was most often rejected. People tried to kill Him. Mobs chased Him. “Important” people framed Him. Ultimately He willingly gave Himself up to be crucified. But guess what? When Jesus gave up his physical life, he took on all our sin. He took our punishment so that we could be made in right relationship with God again. You see…Jesus defeated eternal (forever) death. When we put our faith in Him, we can live with Him in eternity after our physical bodies die. We don’t get eternal punishment. We get eternal joy. Jesus beat death. Jesus beat Satan. And because HE won, you win.

 
Trust the one who made you. Trust that He has a plan for you. Trust He loves you with a never-ending love. He is there with you, even in the pain. One day, you’ll see how He will use that pain to make you sparkle.