We hear the phrase “to God be the glory” a lot, but what does this mean, and is it something we do? Moreover, how does God respond when we attempt to do what brings Him glory?
“To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21)
God is glorious without any action on our part, yet we are commanded to bring Him glory—to reflect His glory through our right responses to Him—through Jesus Christ. This mandate was not simply for the early Christians; it is for all generations. And it is when we obey Christ—when we allow God to work in our hearts through His Spirit so that we really hear what He is saying and what He wants of us—that we bring Him glory. Yet we don’t have to do this completely on our own. When we step forward in faith and are willing to be used of Him, He blesses our efforts.
For years we anticipated that our son would attend a Christian university, but at the last minute he decided to study architecture. We quickly learned that not every university offers architecture, and of those which do, almost none are Christian. Yet God brought to my recollection a recommendation from a former debate coach for Judson University, a Baptist institution with a well-rated architecture program only three hours from our home. Although he got accepted to two other universities that offered architecture, and even though it was slightly more expensive, after praying about it we felt he should attend Judson. We could not have been more right. Its culture exhibits a concerted effort from the top down that students have a personal relationship with Jesus, and our son accepted Christ and was baptized one month later. I had no idea why this school was the better choice, but God did, took our desire to bring Him glory through our selection of a school, blessed it, and turned it into so much more!
Our son’s younger sister is very different person and is not interested in architecture. She has, however, been fascinated with the Japanese language for many years and is studying it formally. Initially, I was having difficulty understanding how God might use this for His glory and purposes in her life, but He has helped me see that He gifts us in unique ways because He has unique plans for each of us.
Unlike third-world mission fields, Japan is a thriving country (many video games come from Japan) and fully 92% of Japanese feel that they are part of the middle class. Yet, surprisingly, only 1-2% are Christian. Theirs is a situation not unlike the financially prosperous but spiritually lost of our own country: “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” (Revelations 3:17-18) Yet, being able to communicate is simply the first step; living in a country also requires an employable skill–not unlike the Apostle Paul’s working as a tent maker–something God is aware of.
Like many teens, our daughter enjoys playing video games. Over the past several years she has also developed a growing interest in its creative aspects, and has put together introductions set to music for tutorials other gamers post online, suggesting a potential college major in some aspect of video game design.
As with architecture, however, most universities that offer this relatively new major are not Christian institutions. Yet God certainly does bless our efforts to seek His will. As I continued my research, I learned that Oklahoma Christian University, a school firmly committed to Scripture, not only offers a well-rated major in video game design, but also has a Christian sister college in Japan offering the opportunity for a period of extended study! I cannot say with certainty what our Lord’s plans are for her, but this degree coupled with a command of the language would certainly position our daughter to be used by Him in some capacity in that country. God does, indeed, place all the pieces exactly where they belong–work all things together for good–to those who love Him–when we desire to bring Him glory through Christ!
To You be glory in the church–in us–by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever! Thank You that regardless of what happens in the world around us, You show Yourself strong on behalf of those who love You, and bless our efforts. In Jesus’ name we ask, Amen.
The Great Commission
“Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [convert them], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you [disciple them]; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.” (Matthew 28:16-20)