‘Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ 1 Corinthians 10:31 NIV
There are two ‘whatever you do’ verses in Scripture.
(1) ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.’ (Colossians 3:23 NIV) Your goal in life should be to love what you work at, and work at what you love. But that isn’t reality at every stage of life. Sometimes you’re called to do a good job for a not-so-good company, boss, or salary. Thank God you have a job that supplies your needs; there are unemployed people who would switch places with you.
(2) ‘Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.’ How do you eat and drink for the glory of God? Paul is using our daily rituals to make an all-encompassing point. Even the most mundane of activities is absolutely miraculous. You take approximately twenty-three thousand breaths every day, but when was the last time you thanked God for one of them? We tend to thank God for things that take our breath away. And that’s fine. But maybe we should thank Him for every other breath too! The purpose-driven life is described in these words from the Westminster Shorter Catechism: ‘Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever.’ It can’t be said any simpler, or any better. We exist for one reason and one reason alone: to glorify God, and to enjoy Him forever. And you’re called to do that in whatever circumstance you find yourself. Any way. Anywhere. Anyhow. Whatever. Wherever.
‘The whole earth is full of His glory!’ Isaiah 6:3 NKJV
The distinction between sacred and secular is a false dichotomy. All things were created by God and for God—no exceptions. Every note of music, every colour on the palette, every flavour that tingles the taste buds. Arnold Sommerfeld, the German physicist and pianist, observed that a single hydrogen atom which emits one hundred frequencies, is more musical than a grand piano which emits only 88 fundamental frequencies. So every single atom is a unique expression of worship. According to composer Leonard Bernstein, the best translation of Genesis 1:3 is not ‘And God said.’He believed a better translation is ‘And God sang.’ The Almighty sang every atom into existence, and every atom echoes that original melody in three-part harmony by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Super-sensitive sound instruments have discovered that earthworms make faint staccato sounds, while whale songs can travel thousands of kilometres under water. Lewis Thomas put it this way: ‘If we had better hearing and could discern the descants of seabirds, the rhythmic timpani of schools of mullets, and even the distant harmonies of flies hanging over meadows in the sun, the combined sound might lift us off our feet.’ And some day they will. Glorified eardrums will hear this Scripture fulfilled: ‘Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: “To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honour and glory and power, for ever and ever!”’(Revelation 5:13 NIV) Today make it your goal to glorify God in all that you do.
‘That the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you.’ 2 Thessalonians 1:12 NIV
Bach composed over 200 cantatas. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring may be his most famous. Nearly four centuries later, it’s still one of the most popular soundtracks as the bride walks down the aisle to meet her groom. The reason his music touches your soul is because it came from his soul. But did you know his cantatas didn’t originate as music, and that they were prayers before they were songs? Before he started scoring a sheet of music he would scrawl JJ—Jesu, Juya—at the very top. It means ‘Jesus, help me.’ Then at the bottom of every composition he inscribed three letters: SDG. They stand for Soli Deo Gloria—‘to the glory of God alone’. His life was a unique translation of that singular motive. So is yours. No one can glorify God like you, or for you, because your life is an original score. Soli Deo Gloria is living for an audience of one; it’s doing the right thing for the right reason. It’s living for the applause of the nail-scarred hands. It’s declaring that Jesus Christ is your all in all. Just Jesus. Nothing more, nothing less, nothing else. Paul bottom-lines it: ‘We constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may fulfil every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God.’ (2 Thessalonians 1:11–12 NIV)
‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’ Zechariah 8:23 NKJV
The prophet Zechariah writes, ‘Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of Hosts in Jerusalem… saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’ (Zechariah 8:22–23 NKJV) When people see God at work in your life, they’ll be drawn to you.
It happened to a short-order cook named Nicholas Herman. Dissatisfied with his life, he worried constantly about whether or not he was even saved. Then one day as he studied a tree, he was struck by the truth in Psalm 1:3: that the secret to growing spiritually lies in being rooted and grounded in God. So he decided to make his life an experiment in what he termed ‘the habitual, silent, secret conversation of the soul with God’. Today he’s better known as Brother Lawrence, the name his friends gave him. Chances are, you’ve heard of him and his writings. Although he spent his life in obscurity working in a monastery kitchen, how he interacted with God caused people from around the world to long to know God like he did. His friends said he ‘found God everywhere…as much while repairing shoes as praying with the community’. And after he died they compiled a book of his letters and conversations called The Practice of the Presence of God.It’s one of the most widely read books of the last four centuries.
Jesus said, ‘When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to Myself.’ (John 12:32 NLT) The more you cultivate the presence of God in your life, the more others will be attracted to Him. So, let others see God in you!
‘He will separate them one from another.’ Matthew 25:32 NKJV
The Bible says: ‘All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom.”’ (Matthew 25:32–34 NKJV) But here’s what happens to those on the left hand: ‘He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me.”’ (Matthew 25:41 NKJV) What determines His choice? How does He separate people? Is it based on the fact that one group was highly moral while the other was loose-living? Is it based on the fact that one group was doctrinally correct while the other went astray theologically? No.
Jesus said the destiny of all present will be based on one thing: showing compassion to those in need. You object: ‘We are saved by faith alone!’ Yes. But as Calvin pointed out, ‘The faith that saves us is never alone!’ The Bible says that faith without works is dead (see James 2:26). Jesus said that this was the standard by which we’ll be evaluated and rewarded: ‘I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ (Matthew 25:36 NKJV) Then He personalised it in these words: ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’ (Matthew 25:40 NIV) That means you must open your heart and respond to the needs around you.
‘You bless the righteous, You surround them with Your favour.’ Psalm 5:12 NIV
When you ask someone for a favour, you’re generally asking for something they don’t owe you. The Bible says of God: ‘You bless the righteous; You surround them with Your favour.’ This word ‘righteous’ doesn’t mean flawless, otherwise none of us would qualify! It means to be clothed in ‘the righteousness of God’, thereby making us acceptable before God and qualifying us for His favour (see 2 Corinthians 5:21). And that’s a truth you need to grasp and hold on to! Why? Because when you have God’s favour, people start favouring you too—often for reasons they themselves can’t explain! The favour of God made it possible for people in the Bible who otherwise wouldn’t have amounted to much, to do great things. God called a teenager named Esther to save the Jewish people. So she stepped out in faith, approached the king uninvited, even though it violated protocol, and ‘obtained favour in his sight.’ (Esther 5:2 AMP) God made a way for her to do the job He’d given her. Without the favour of God, Ruth, a Gentile, wouldn’t have been accepted by the Jews. But because God had a plan for her life and her heart was open to Him, she ended up marrying Boaz, ‘a mighty man of great wealth.’ (Ruth 2:1 KJV) And from that union descended King David, and ultimately our blessed Lord Jesus. What favour! The Bible says, ‘A good man will obtain favour from the Lord.’ (Proverbs 12:2 NAS) And a single moment of God’s favour will do more for you than a lifetime of striving. So pray for the favour of God today—and start looking for it!
‘The wise listen to others.’ Proverbs 12:15 NLT
Positioning yourself to receive—makes all the difference! For example, as you read this, if you position yourself to receive by saying to the Lord, ‘I will take action on what You show me,’ you’ll benefit more than if you read it just to be motivated or inspired. To resist or to receive—that’s a choice you make every day. Nothing dies quicker than a new idea in a closed mind. It’s impossible to learn, if you think you already know it all. One of the reasons Jesus reacted so strongly to the Pharisees was because they refused to receive what He had to say. A wrongly positioned mind is like a microscope that magnifies trifling things but can’t receive great ones. Every situation, properly viewed, is an opportunity. But opportunities can only ‘drop into your lap’ if you position your lap where opportunities drop. When you don’t position yourself to receive, it’s like asking for a bushel while you’re holding a cup. Too often our minds are locked on one track. We’re looking for red so we overlook blue; we’re thinking ‘tomorrow’ and God is saying ‘now’. We’re looking everywhere, and the answer is right under our nose. When a person is positioned correctly, he or she is ready to receive all God has for them.
The Bible often uses the word simple. The original term means ‘thick, dull, and sluggish’, and it describes those who are insensitive and unreceptive to the thoughts of others. God will speak to you through people, but unless you listen you won’t hear what He has to say. So today position yourself to receive.
‘The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.’ Hebrews 1:3 NIV
Are you so focused on your troubles that you’ve forgotten what God’s Word says: ‘Goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.’ (Psalm 23:6 KJV)? We know about Job’s troubles, but we tend to forget they were just for a short season in an otherwise very blessed life. The time Joseph spent in prison was eclipsed by the years of influence and privilege he enjoyed as the number-two man in Pharaoh’s palace. Are you having difficulty enjoying your blessings because you are afraid they won’t last? Maybe you’re so accustomed to trouble that you’re continually braced for it, like sitting in a comfortable recliner and not being able to relax. It’s time you stopped worrying and started believing God’s promises to you! He hasn’t brought you this far to abandon you. No, He has ‘appointed you to bring forth fruit that will last.’ Lasting joy and success—that’s God’s plan for you! The Bible says, ‘The Son is sustaining all things by His powerful word.’
God doesn’t speak something over your life, then let it fall apart. He said about His word: ‘It will accomplish all I want it to.’ (Isaiah 55:11 NLT) In Genesis, God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night.’ (Genesis 1:14 ESV) And guess what? That same sun shines today because of the word that brought it into being—and, God willing, it’ll shine again tomorrow. Now, if God will do that for an inanimate object like the sun, don’t you think He’ll take care of you too? Come on, believe that you’re called and chosen by God!
‘I have chosen you and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit.’ John 15:16 KJV
The word ‘ordained’ comes from the word ordered. God ordered and designed you specifically. He chose your life’s direction. He preserved you when you thought you wouldn’t make it. He pushed you when you thought you had run out of steam. ‘The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall for the Lord holds them by the hand.’ (Psalm 37:23–24 NLT)
He wants you to win. ‘No weapon turned against you will succeed… These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord.’ (Isaiah 54:17 NLT) That means the attacks being directed against you won’t succeed! But being chosen by God doesn’t mean you can just go and do your own thing. Paul says, ‘Should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more of His wonderful grace? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?’ (Romans 6:1–2 NLT) When you’re chosen and appointed you have assurance of your position in Christ, even when your condition isn’t up to par. It’s also why God permits tests and temptations. He knows what it takes to keep you dependent on Him, and help you develop a strong root system. The first thing God told man was ‘be fruitful’(see Genesis 1:28). He wants you to be productive and successful in every aspect of your life. Jesus said, ‘It is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom [to enjoy the advantages of Kingdom living].’ (Luke 12:32AMPC) Once that concept gets down into your spirit, it will change your life!
‘I will arise and go to my father.’ Luke 15:18 KJV
Once you grasp the fact that God has ‘chosen and appointed’ you to accomplish certain things, many of your unanswered questions will begin to make sense. Like why you see things differently from others, or feel compelled to move on while they’re happy to stay where they are. Paul said that long before we had heard of Christ, ‘He chose us in advance, and He makes everything work out according to His plan.’ (Ephesians 1:11 NLT) You’ve been handpicked and designed for the job! Why? Because God has certain things He wants to do through you. It’s the reason you’ve made it this far. It’s why you keep bouncing back each time Satan tries to destroy you. Here are two reasons you need to grasp this truth:
(1) If you think God chose you because you’re a great prayer-warrior, or read your Bible for hours on end, or you’re of sterling character, then the minute you let up or fail the devil will pounce and tell you you’re no longer accepted by God.
(2) Knowing your status before God enables you to say, ‘Even though I struggle and stumble and sometimes don’t have it all together, I can go to God at any time because He chose me.’ That’s powerful! It’s information the devil doesn’t want you to have because it will change your thinking, your outlook, and your confidence level. Even though he crashed and burned and ended up smelling like the pigs he fed, the Prodigal Son could say, ‘I will arise and go to my father.’ Rejoice, God is still your ‘Father’ even though you’ve messed up. Repent, return, recommit—you’re ‘chosen and appointed.’