. . . To Glorify God . . .  

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Last week, I rambled on about the origins of the Westminster standards. The Parliament may have been concerned with questions such as “Who is in charge, episcopacy, local congregation, church, king or pope?” One of the revolutionary aspects of the Westminster Assembly was to answer, in large part, “none of the above.”


I had a few more thoughts this week about what that means: glorifying God.

There is a real sense in which you can see God’s power and glory all around you, so long as you permit yourself to see it. Like the Book says:

1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
Psalm 19:1-2

If you’ve ever been somewhere that the air is clear and there is no light pollution, maybe you have experienced what this ancient desert dweller is describing—wide horizons of inky blackness awash with seas of stars beyond number, all tracing the path laid out for them, all bespeaking a beauty and organization and distant power. I have a couple places like that, and it reminds me of how non-big I actually am.

And as I write this, there is a gigantic hurricane a couple hundred miles away with huge amounts of kinetic energy, organized by the laws of physics, which I believe God wrote upon the universe. Even with all its might, however, the storm is not even a teacup full in an ocean compared with the power of the one who formulated the laws that govern it.

But there has to be some difference between the way a mountain or a storm or a night sky glorifies God, and how a human being does it. Sure, if you look at the body you were given, its design and its complexity, it can impress you in the same fashion as any other natural phenomenon.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.

Psalm 139:14

But if that’s it, then we’re not much different from an inanimate piece of beautiful rock. I think there is more to it.

When a mountain or a night sky bespeaks the glory of God, it is doing what it was created to do. In that sense, it is no different from you or me. When we bespeak the glory of God, we’re doing what we were created to do too—fulfilling our “chief end.” The mountain and the night sky, however, have no choice in the matter. They are signposts, simply stating whatever the sign writer wrote upon them. We, on the other hand, have an election to make. We are singers, choosing which song to sing, not signposts.

Fe-Lady can choose or not choose to be a vessel of God’s caring and love by connecting with an autistic child. Iron Jenny could bike through each race without any awareness of her maker, or she could (as she does) pray and sing and (as a consequence) become a magnetic love-fest for 140.6 miles. Sometimes the choice doesn’t necessarily change what we do, only the reason we do it and the qualities we get from it. I can focus all this training solely on myself and a vain search for “abs of steel” and the like, or I can live and breathe and move with the motivation of being a good steward of the healthy body I was given.

I guess what I’m saying is that part of the life that God sparked into us was the choice to fulfill or to fail in fulfilling our “chief end.” We can’t just stand here and look pretty, and by so doing, just “be” and fulfill our “chief end.” That makes us different and unique among all the things that God created. Maybe it is this kind of choice to worship, so to speak, that the apostle encourages his readers to make when he writes:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.

Romans 12:1.

Anyway, some things to think about while you’re out running. What kind of a singer are you called to be? What choices are there for you, right now, or down the road.

Now, go run. See you next week.

This entry was posted on Friday, September 12, 2008 at 3:36 PM and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

5 comments

I think that, from an athletic standpoint, taking care of our bodies - God's creations - and training them to test their capacities and limits is a way to glorify God. It also helps us achieve things that reveal truths about ourselves and potentially inspire others.

However, it's a fine line between this and vanity or self-centeredness, so (like most other things in life) it depends on where the person's heart is while doing these activities we enjoy.

September 12, 2008 at 4:26 PM

Great Post. Thank you so much. I'm glad I found you!! I also believe everything about our training and racing is a testiment to his glory and I hope that when I train well, and push through using his strength and his words in my heart, it gives him glory and honor. I always want to remember that.. sometimes we get caught up and we loose sight. It's always good to be brought back. I think you wanted my email.. if you did it's kimberlysbi@gmail.com. I would be happy to say hi!

September 12, 2008 at 7:31 PM

Thanks for the 140.6 mile lovefest-with-God shout-out!
He is having a great time out there with me, I know it. He's so glad I like all these parts that work and move and perform when I test them. Sort of like He's getting to experience Ironman vicariously through me. you know, when He was last here they didn't have Ironman... ;-)

Regarding who's in charge - my (unpopular) opinion? None of the "egos" listed!! It's God and God alone. Nobody doles out Jesus - he is here for all of us.
Didn't He say, "Come to the fountain."
and "Take this, ALL of you...."?

September 13, 2008 at 5:12 PM

Awesome. Thanks...

September 16, 2008 at 11:15 AM

Donald's comment resonated with me.

I'm walking the fine line between glorifying God by taking care of my body and appreciating his wonderous works and my self-centeredness that causes me to do this instead of spending my time/resoursces helping others.

Ever wonder if he's shaking His head at us because we bought a new bike and spend countless hours trainig for a race when there are people in Haiti crying for help *especially* after this past hurricane season?

That's my quandry...

September 19, 2008 at 6:23 PM

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