Section 3: Humanity
Week 1: God Created Us for His Glory
Day 5: What Is for God’s Glory Is Also for Your Benefit
Phil. 4:4-7; 1 Thes. 5:16-18
Yesterday we explained why God is not an egomaniac for seeking his own glory. We don’t like when other people seek their own glory, but that’s because they aren’t really as great as they think they are. In God’s case, he really is as great as he thinks he is. So it’s not wrong for him to seek his own glory. I suspect that still makes us uncomfortable. God may be all-powerful, all-knowing, and perfect in every way. But couldn’t he tone it down a notch? Do we really have to glorify him all the time? Isn’t that a bit over the top?
The short answer is no. It sounds paradoxical, but God’s insistence that we glorify him is actually tied to his desire to bring to us joy.
God Wants to Give Us the Greatest Gift
When we got married, Jeni informed me I had to get her diamond earrings for our fifth anniversary. She wanted to tell me right off the bat to make sure I had plenty of lead time (she’s always looking out for me like that). When the day came, I decided to play a trick on her. I bought her a pair of diamond earrings, but I also wrote a short story called The Diamond Earrings. That night I gave her the short story and suggested it fulfilled my anniversary obligation. She hadn’t defined the term “diamond earrings,” after all.
Of course I did give her the real earrings later that night. If I loved her, how could I have something in my possession that I knew would bring her joy and not give it to her? God is no different. Because he loves us, God gives us many good things. As we’ve seen, there is nothing in the universe greater than God. That means the most valuable gift he could possibly give us is himself. Because he loves us, there is no way he would refuse to give us that gift. That’s why he calls us to experience a genuine relationship with him.
God’s Wants Our Joy to Be Complete
What does that have to do with God’s desire that we glorify him? It has everything to do with it, because God knows the joy we experience in our relationship with him will be incomplete unless we express it.
Think about it for a moment. We naturally shower praise on people and things we enjoy. We tend to think of that praise as something distinct from our joy. But, as Pastor John Piper points out, there is deep connection between the two. “We praise what we enjoy because the delight is incomplete until it is expressed in praise. If we were not allowed to speak of what we value and celebrate what we love, and praise what we admire, our joy would be incomplete.”
In other words, our joy is stunted when we don’t have an opportunity to express it. Think about something really great happening (the Packers win the Super Bowl, for example, or after years of trying, you find out you’re pregnant). Imagine you had to suppress your excitement. No shouting. No jumping up and down. No fist pumps. No high fives. Not even a smile. How would that feel?
Now imagine the scene if you could let your excitement out. Which would be a more joyful experience? The second one, obviously. Why? The expression is actually part of the experience.
That’s why God wants us to glorify him. Not because he needs it to stroke his ego, but because he wants us to experience the greatest possible joy. He has given himself to us and he wants us to praise him because he knows our joy will be incomplete until we do. Far from being a selfish act, God’s desire to seek his glory is actually a reflection of his desire to seek our good.
Does praising God bring you joy? If so, why? Would God be as loving if he didn’t want you to experience that joy?
Take a moment today to thank God for the opportunities he gives you to experience joy in your relationship with him.