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GLORIFYING GOD: 12. LOVING HIM
by Philip Owen

             Although anyone who truly glorifies God will be a doer of the Word, glorifying God ultimately neither begins nor ends with merely visible acts.  The writing of these paragraphs, for example, may or may not be an act that truly glorifies God.  Assuming, for the moment, that they are truthful and faithful to Scripture, the question of the writer’s will and motive for producing them remains.  For God-glorifying actions issue from the wellspring of a heart, mind, and will that are pleasing to God.  I like the way Arthur Pink expressed it:  “Loving Him and making Him our supreme delight” glorifies God.  No action, however impressive or self-sacrificial, is a satisfactory substitute for loving the Lord (cf., I Cor. 13:1-3).  Such love is the only acceptable motivation for God-glorifying service.

            Loving Him and making Him our supreme delight glorifies God.  The “great commandment” forever establishes the reality of this truth:  “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deut. 6:5).  As the following examples illustrate, a brief survey of Israel’s worship book, Psalms, finds this to be a recurring theme.  “Thou wilt shew me the path of life:  in thy presence if fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore” (16:11; by David).  “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:  when shall I come and appear before God? (42:1, 2; by the sons of Korah).  “Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy:  yea upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God” (43:4; anonymous).  “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee:  my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is . . . Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.  My soul followeth hard after thee” (63:1, 3, 8a; by David).  “My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord:  my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God” (84:2; by the sons of Korah). “My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning:  I say, more than they that watch for the morning” (130:6; anonymous).  Anyone familiar with the Word can multiply these examples many times over, not only from the Psalms, but from every portion of the Bible.

            By no means should we diminish the significance of impressive exploits done for the Lord.  But lack of opportunity or ability to do “great” deeds does not limit our ability to glorify God.  The mother, dandling her infant on her knee as she sings hymns before him, the housewife watering her dishpan with tears of thanksgiving, the invalid lying on his solitary bed in intercessory prayer, the young child bearing testimony to a lost playmate—all may glorify the Lord, as may the woman tarrying in her prayer closet or the man poring intensely over the Word of God hungering to know more of its truths and to know its Author better.

            What consumes our thoughts?  What forms our desires?  To what do we devote our time and attention?  Do we long for the Lord as the writers of the Psalms?  Are His approbation, fellowship, and glory what we desire?   In the “Love” chapter, Paul observes that “Charity [“love”] never faileth:  but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. . . .  And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity” (I Cor. 13:8, 13).  There is neither substitute nor second best for Spirit-imbued love.  It is at once the commencement and the culmination of salvation.  Oh, for hearts to love Him unreservedly and lives to serve Him heartily.  And to God be all the glory.

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