I was reading through blogger and pastor Morgan Guyton's archives yesterday. There's usually something in his posts that really resonates with me, whether or not I agree with everything he's saying. It's like he has had many of the same questions that I do, and he has found constructive ways to address them.
In his May 20, 2011 post, God's holiness and hospitality, Morgan says the following:
"For those who have been stomped on by the world, I can understand the
attraction of Revelation’s bowls of wrath and trumpets of rage against
the seemingly invincible social order. How is God hospitable to those
whom we ignore and mistreat? Does he have to smash a bottle on our heads
to get us to shut up and let somebody else talk? What does God do about
the people who need to be the center of attention when the only way to
throw a perfect eternal party is for God to be the center of attention
because He can handle the attention?"
I especially liked the part about how God should be the center of attention because he can actually handle it!
Morgan said there reminded me of one of Mark Driscoll's twitter updates
(although I gather than Morgan is not exactly a fan of Mark
Driscoll!). Driscoll said (see here):
"Most people are miserable because they're addicted to their own glory
& they're not getting it. Living for God's glory is the way to joy."
sure that people can take issue with what Mark Driscoll said, and how
he said it. I for one would be very hesitant to say that something is
true of "Most people", since I don't know most people. Moreover, there
are many people who are miserable because they're clinically depressed,
not because they're disappointed that they're not being glorified
enough. That said, I identified with what Mark Driscoll wrote because I
feel that it describes me: I'm often miserable because I want to be
affirmed or praised, and I'm disappointed when I don't get that
affirmation or praise that I desire or think I deserve.
question is this: How can I live for God's glory? What does that
mean? Going back to Morgan's quote, sure, I'd hope that I would lay
aside my desire for people to pay attention to me and let everyone pay
attention to God, if God were in the room! And maybe God is in the
room. But all I see are the people! And, that being the case, I see us
all as competing for attention.
living for God's glory may entail thinking more about God (God's beauty,
God's love), and thinking more about others. The challenge, for me, is
figuring out how to do so. I can think more about God by reading the
Bible. But, right now, I'm reading about Solomon's power struggles in I
Kings 1-2. How is that an inspiring way for me to think about God?
Well, maybe it isn't. At the same time, I do have a degree of empathy
for Solomon, who was trying to rule, amidst shrewd and high-ranking
people who did not even want him as king. When I can sympathize and
empathize with someone who feels vulnerable, that, in my mind, is a
positive step. But is it good enough?
I feel obliged to list other ways to live for God's glory: service work, helping others, and listening to others' stories.